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by Abigail Van Buren

Pandemic Restrictions Prevent Attendance at Close Friend's Funeral

DEAR ABBY: A friend died in a state that has restrictions on gathering for funerals because of the pandemic. Only those in the household, the mortuary staff and a pastor or other religious officiant can be present at the funeral.

This was a good friend, Abby, someone I had known for 35 years. He and his wife, also a longtime friend, were in my wedding party. The sudden loss of this friend saddens me, and it grieves me that I cannot offer condolences in person or attend the funeral or support his widow in person. Other readers may also be facing this quandary. Do you have any suggestions? -- GRIEVING ON THE EAST COAST

DEAR GRIEVING: Ask your friend's widow if the funeral home can stream the funeral service to friends and extended family who are unable to attend in person. Call her, extend your condolences, and ask if she needs your help or if she is planning to have a memorial you can attend once the quarantine is lifted.

While you're at it, ask if she would like a contribution in her late husband's name made to a particular organization. Do not send flowers without first asking because she may be inundated. And, of course, continue calling to check on her, lift her spirits and allow her to vent if she needs to, which may help her to feel less isolated and vulnerable.

Read more in: Death | Friends & Neighbors