Are some COVID-19 policies going too far?

Mark McWilliams
Mark McWilliams and a giant pumpkin in the fall of 2016. PHOTO BY Jessica McWilliams.

Have some COVID-19 policies gone too far? In my opinion, yes absolutely, and I am not talking the mask mandates or lack thereof.  I am referring to the policies people don’t know about or think about until they are forced to confront it, such as the policies surrounding funerals. 

My father died on Jan. 9. His death wasn’t directly caused by COVID-19, though my brother and I both believe had he been seen by a doctor sooner, he might have had a better chance of fighting his cancer.  

We had been told just a few days earlier, on Jan. 4, that his cancer had spread to his lungs and liver. We were told maybe we would have a few more months. Even though I was a match and would have done anything to help my dad, I was told that at this point giving my dad part of my own liver would not have helped.  

We took my dad to hospice, where we found out that rather than being surrounded by family like my grandpa had been at the end of his life, only a few family members could be with my dad at a time.  

When it came time to plan his funeral, we found out none of the churches in our town would hold a funeral and that none of the ministers our family knew would even perform a funeral service.  

Suddenly, my family was faced with the very real possibility that one of my uncles would need to get ordained online so he could lead a service.  

The complications and polices didn’t stop there though. We found out that we could only allow 23 family members to attend the service. We were not allowed to have a guest book, we couldn’t receive hugs from our family attending the service, we couldn’t sing and no one over the age of 65 was allowed in the building. This was horrifying because my grandma, my dad’s mom, was 91. We weren’t sure if she would be allowed to attend. 

My mom and I were tasked with choosing which of my dad’s nieces and nephews could attend or not. My cousins who drove more than three hours to attend his visitation were not allowed to stay for the funeral.  

Yes, the funeral home did make the concession that my dad’s funeral could be viewed online but that in itself is horrifying to me. I lived through it once. I don’t want to accidently see it online again. All of the regulations and rules we faced made a heartbreaking time unbearable in ways I find hard to put into words. 

I agree that we need regulations until the crisis has passed, but we need a balance. People need to grieve. People need to get necessary health and dental care. It is important that our voices are heard. If you have found that some COVID-19 policies have gone too far you should contact your local legislator and make your voice heard.  

I want to make it clear that it is important to wear a face mask and I am NOT against wearing a face mask. I just want a balance that will allow people to grieve in a safe and healthy way. My family and I are hurting and I am angry but I refuse to give up hope that things will get better. We also want to remember my dad as he was, when he was healthy, growing giant pumpkins and fishing but it is really hard to forget what happened at the end of his life.  

Image courtesy of Jessica McWilliams | Kirkwood Communiqué

Categories: Editorials, Opinion