Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Grandchild Wonders What To Do About Funeral

DEAR HARRIETTE: My grandma died this week, and it is so sad. We weren’t able to visit her in her nursing home or in the hospital because of the rules about COVID-19. Now it’s time for us to put her to rest. I can’t decide what to do. I could host a tiny funeral with 10 guests or fewer. Or I could wait indefinitely to host a bigger event after the gathering restrictions are relaxed. Or the funeral home suggested a virtual event. I don’t know what to do. What do you recommend? -- End of Life

DEAR END OF LIFE: I am so very sorry for your loss. It is always hard to lose a loved one. It is exponentially worse right now for the reasons you are experiencing. Not being able to comfort loved ones during their time of transition can be excruciating for all parties. Not being able to say goodbye in a communal mourning experience can feel incomplete. And yet, that is what we are charged with managing these days.

What I’m learning is that every family has to figure out what works best for you and your family dynamics. A fair compromise for many people is a combination event, where a small group of 10 or fewer can be in the space of the event. That way you can see one another’s faces and be with each other while practicing social distancing. At the same time, live-streaming the event is kind for all of the loved ones who are unable to attend. If you can get the funeral home to handle the stream, it is great because they are professionals and are not emotionally invested in the event. They should be able to capture everything. Consider saving the broadcast so that you can watch it again.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a number of medical issues, and I had doctors’ appointments set up over the next few months to deal with them. Nothing is a medical emergency, but I do need to attend to some things.

It has been almost impossible to get doctors’ appointments because of the shutdown. I was told that I should not go to my doctors’ offices because it could cause a health risk. In one case, my doctor was too busy dealing with the overflow from coronavirus patients. Now several weeks have passed, and I am concerned that I am letting my issues go unattended. What can I do to make sure that I stay on top of my health? I don’t think it’s smart to table my issues, even though this crisis is really huge. -- Minding My Health

DEAR MINDING MY HEALTH: Request telehealth calls with your primary care physician and any other physician you might need to speak with. During this call, have a written list of questions and concerns. Take notes about what is discussed. If you think you need in-person follow up, request it. Explain why you feel this way, and request a safe means of addressing your medical issues. The more organized and clear you are, the better your chances of finding the results you desire.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)