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Column: Day of Reflection on Covid period

By Jenny Adams

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Last weekend our congregation were delighted to host Fiona Kendall, who works for the Church of Scotland and the Methodist Church as a legal advisor with Mediterranean Hope, a refugee project in Italy.

The Covid pandemic brought a lot of grief and loss.
The Covid pandemic brought a lot of grief and loss.

We heard about work that began in response to folk arriving on boats on the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa. Those getting there are luckier than countless numbers drowned en route but are traumatised by desperate journeys.

Churches wanted to offer welcome and care to these people – human beings like you and me - and to support residents.

Mediterranean Hope’s work has since evolved to include supporting communities and migrants in Sicily and Calabria and those trapped at the freezing Bosnian border. Legal work encourages governments to welcome people safely and legally through humanitarian corridors, with integration into communities.

Fiona’s visit was inspiring, and all the more welcome because she had been due to visit in March 2020. With Italy badly hit by coronavirus, her cancellation was the first of many back then.

It’s been a long four years. Time has dimmed the uncertainty, fear and stress of 2020. However, I’m still recognising changes in myself from losses, big and small, of the pandemic years, while wider impacts are ongoing in schools, healthcare, businesses and long Covid.

Covid’s most direct impact caused deaths. Yet nobody bereaved for any reason during lockdown was able to deal with dying and bereavement with all our usual rituals, or even alongside the people closest to them.

To help us remember the losses of the pandemic period, Marie Curie is leading the UK in a Day of Reflection on Sunday 3 March. That offers a special moment to remember everyone who died during the pandemic, to support people who are grieving, and to take time to recognise and reflect on the sorrow, collective loss and unresolved grief that emerged from such unusual times.

We are all encouraged to take a moment to reflect, to honour those who’ve died and to share the name of a loved one we’re remembering, in any way that feels right to us.

It can be helpful and healing to acknowledge and reflect on our grief, even if it doesn’t feel like it. And while four years was a long delay for a visit, there’s no timescale for grief, though over time we find evolving ways to live with grief and those we still love.

Every person is precious, with a unique contribution to life in who they are and what they do.

For those around us now in the messiness of this life, perhaps we could take the time to tell them how much they mean to us.

For those we have lost to the mystery of death and life beyond us, please take time to remember them, ideally with someone who can hear and share your memories.

And for those we may never know, including those who risk becoming just another statistic in a boat or a war zone, I hope we can also remember their humanity, their stories and their desperate hopes.

May our reflections open our hearts to love big enough to hold and guide us all.

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