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Journalist opens up on ‘held back’ grief after stepfather’s lockdown funeral

Lottie WelchA journalist has opened up on losing a loved one during the coronavirus crisis after her stepfather died from cancer.

Lottie Welch has written for the Bridport News about the death of her stepdad Donald Welch, who passed away last month, in a bid to help others going through a similar experience.

Mr Welch was in a hospice for four days prior to his death, where we only two family members could visit him at a time due to lockdown restrictions.

Lottie, pictured, wrote in her piece for the News that “a lot of our grief is being held back”.

She said: “When he died, there was no funeral, the arrangements he wanted could not go ahead, instead we came together as a family over a video call and played the songs he had wanted, but we could not console or hug each other.

“We can’t come together as a big family and share memories, photos, thoughts and feelings.

“A funeral is normally a given after someone dies and, in some ways, gives those mourning a sense of closure and acceptance and can be the start of a new normal routine.

“The absence of a funeral leaves a void that won’t ever be filled.”

Lottie added the experience had been “hard to process”.

She added: “The lockdown is delaying our grief, it’s taking away the time immediately after the death that you can grieve with friends and family.

“Not going through the normal procedures after he died has meant that the full impact of him passing hasn’t hit us yet.

“This isn’t to say everyone who has lost someone is feeling this way, I would just like you to know you are not alone and to take a little bit of comfort in that.

“So, for all those who have lost someone during this pandemic, my thoughts truly are with you.

“Until we can all be surrounded by family again, all you can do is take one day at a time.”

HTFP previously reported how Mark Thompson, interim editorial director for JPIMedia in the North-East of England, had described his experience of a coronavirus lockdown funeral after his grandmother’s death from the disease.

Lottie told HTFP: “I have had a lovely response to the article, many people messaging to say they are also dealing with the loss of a loved one at this uncertain time and many family members have told me that it is the exact way they are feeling.

“I am so pleased to have been able to give some comfort to others.

“It’s such a strange time and trying to process your feelings too is difficult, I wanted to stress that it is OK to not know how to feel and not to worry if you are feeling the right way.”

You can read all our coronavirus-related stories here.