TODAY I wept.

Don’t worry, I am not having a mental health crisis. I was weeping out of sadness. You will know that part of my Chaplaincy is taking baby funerals.

This baby was beautiful; the photo on the cover of the order of service gave testimony to that. The family were delightful. And all the usual sadness was there, of course.

Looking at the baby’s parents, and his older brother and the extended family who had come along.

Wondering how life would have looked so different now and in the future if this baby had lived. But it was the coronavirus restrictions that compounded all this.

On greeting the family I would usually give a big hug – not allowed.

And at the end, I would either shake everyone’s hands or hug again – not allowed.

But it was the crematorium chapel that was surreal and, dare I say, eerie.

The space is large and usually has about 80 chairs.

On some funerals these are all full and people are standing around the edges. But today as I walked in there were 10 chairs which were spaced at least three metres apart from each other.

And as the 10 family mourners walked in, they dutifully sat at a distance. No chance to squeeze the hand of the upset person next to you; no opportunity to pass a tissue.

Self-isolation took on a different dimension.

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And, for me, this limited the connection that we all feel for one another in the most desperate of circumstances. Now don’t get me wrong; of course I see the need for the Government guidelines if we are all to keep ourselves safe.

But I think coming to terms with what they will mean for us as emotional human beings are becoming clearer and clearer as days go by.

In the Bible, we are told that Jesus wept over Jerusalem.

Now, I’m no Jesus, but today, in private, I wept over this funeral. Thinking not just of this family, but of every grieving family who will have to mourn their loved ones in a very different way. And so I pray: Lord, have mercy!