good life, good death, good grief

COVID-19: When Someone Dies

The death of a loved one is difficult at any time, but in a pandemic situation, it can be made more even more difficult for many reasons.

In addition to grief there will be practical matters which need attended to, and the coronavirus pandemic may make these practicalities more difficult.

General information

You can find general advice on bereavement, seeking support and planning a funeral here: After a death.

The coronavirus pandemic means that not all the general advice above will apply, because of restrictions on funerals and social distancing, but it may still be helpful. Below is some more specific advice and information.

Registering a Death

The process for registering a death has changed because of the pandemic.

Current advice about how to register a death can be found here: Registering a death


Not being present for a funeral can affect the way we grieve for those we love or support others who are grieving.

The Scottish Government has published information about current restrictions relating to funerals and wider public health guidance relevant to funeral services: Scottish Government guidance for funeral services.

Restrictions are in place for funerals to prevent the spread of the virus. You can read guidance from the National Association of Funeral Directors about these restrictions here: NAFD Funeral Advice.

Some funeral directors may have the technology to allow people to join a funeral via video link. There is also the option of a direct cremation or burial (with no-one present) followed by a memorial service at a time after the pandemic is over. The charity CRUSE has produced some helpful advice about funerals during the pandemic. It includes ways in which a meaningful funeral may still be possible and how people can feel included even if they are not able to attend in person. It also explores how you can look after yourself and others.

Quaker Social Action have produced a detailed guide on organising a meaningful funeral during the time of COVID-19.


Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland provides support to people who are struggling with grief: Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland

Cruse Bereavement Care has produced information designed to help with bereavement during the COVID-19 pandemic: Cruse Bereavement Care

Sue Ryder has an online community where people dealing with end of life and bereavement can share experiences and support each other. You can sign up at the top of the online community page.

The Compassionate Friends is a charitable organisation of bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents dedicated to the support and care of other similarly bereaved family members who have suffered the death of a child or children of any age and from any cause.

The Irish Hospice Foundation have a range of support and advice about death and grieving during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Note that some of the links are Ireland specific).

Marking Loss: Ideas and Inspirations is downloadable book that responds to the limitations that the Covid-19 restrictions have placed on the ways people can mark a loved ones dying, and shares ideas on how to respond to loss when when people can't gather together.

The Childhood Bereavement Network have a range of guidance for young people who have been bereaved based on the experience of other young people who have been through the loss of someone close.

The Scottish Bereavement Charter describes what the best bereavement care and support should look like: Scottish Bereavement Charter



Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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Before I die I want to ...
Bereavement Charter for Scotland