Covid 19 coronavirus Delta outbreak: No funerals allowed – a reminder of what life and death looks like in lockdown

As the country wakes up to the second day in lockdown, a funeral home’s simple Facebook post has offered a reminder of the realities of life – and death – during these times.

Tipene Funerals shared about the situation faced by one family when the funeral service planned for their husband and father was suddenly cancelled yesterday when the country went into lockdown due to a Covid scare in Auckland.

“This is what a burial service is under alert level 4,” the post read.

“Today a funeral service was scheduled for the late Mr Ualesi Sio Fauali’i at the Samoan Seventh Day Adventist [church].

“However, due to alert level 4 lockdown, there is strictly no gathering and that includes funerals and burials.

“Here our staff of Porirua branch, along with the Whenua Tapu Cemetery staff, continued with burial for the late Mr Fauali’i.”

Tipene Funerals has a number of branches around the country and is well-known as the cast in the popular television show The Casketeers.

'A livestream was the best we could offer family'

Funeral directors offered a livestream link showing the mini service held at the funeral home – as three staff members stood around Fauali’i’s casket singing a Samoan hymn usually heard at funerals.

One staffer plays a guitar softly, while the others sing, before a prayer is said.

“A livestream was the best we could offer family who could not be present due to Covid restrictions.

“We feel for all who are experiencing loss during these challenging times.”

Photos then show funeral directors and staff members – all wearing face masks – at a local cemetery carrying Fauali’i’s coffin to his final resting place, as one staff member gently lays flowers on top.

Earlier this year, staff at Tipene Funerals were involved in a heartbreaking moment that saw a woman in a managed isolation and quarantine facility saying goodbye to her recently deceased mother behind a fence.

The moment was captured on video and showed Tapaita Lapao’o, in MIQ, crying behind the gates of an MIQ facility while reaching her hand out to a hearse carrying her late mother.

In between heart-wrenching sobs, a few disjointed words can be heard: “Mum. Please. I cannot reach out. Hold my hand. My mother.”

She is heard apologising to her late mum: “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry … I cannot come.”


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