Virtual memorial service brings families together to honour loved ones

Registered Music Therapist Hanna Tsoi performs during the virtual bereavement ceremony

This year has been especially difficult for families who have experienced the death of a loved one. Rules about physical distancing and limits on ways to gather and memorialise have made grieving even harder.

While all face-to-face gatherings were ceased due to COVID-19, the supportive & palliative care service in Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) developed a virtual memorial service to help families pay tribute to and remember their loved ones.

The service features nursing, medical, allied health and pastoral and volunteer members of the team from supportive and palliative care.

Kristin Bindley, a bereavement counsellor for supportive & palliative care in WSLHD, said remembrance and rituals are an important part of honouring the life of someone who has died.

“Rituals hold deep meaning and can help people to process their grief,” Kristin said

“We felt this service was an opportunity for us to connect with families in the virtual space, to collectively honour their family member or friend, and acknowledge their grief.”

Ahead of watching the virtual service, try to find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted. This may help to make this time more meaningful for you and the people with whom you might be watching the service.

If you can, switch off your phone or put it in silent mode.

There will be a moment during the service when you will be invited to light a candle. If you’d like to do this, take a moment to prepare a candle and some matches before viewing the service.

Bereavement support and counselling is available for families known to the supportive & palliative care service. Refer to this pamphlet for more information about grief and bereavement services and resources.

For immediate help and support, you can contact:

  • Lifeline 13 11 14       
  • Mensline 1300 78 99 78
  • Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800
  • Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36
  • Griefline Helpline (6am to midnight) 8188 5799