Saying a final goodbye to a family member in this new world is even harder than it used to be.
Carlitos, as he was endearingly called by his family, friends and neighbors, went to the hospital for symptoms associated to his leukemia, but the dreaded bug found him and took him to his grave before his time. The leukemia was under control and he had another few years left in him. Taking a family member to the hospital these days is the equivalent of signing his death warrant.
Since he died of complications due to Covid-19, his funeral service and burial were not the norm: His body was picked up at the hospital at 4:30 p.m. He was then taken on his last car ride, unfortunately, a hearse. He was taken by his house where his family and friends grieved him for about 20 minutes. He was in his last resting place by 5:30.
Despite everyone knowing the risks associated with the killer virus, most people hugged Carlitos’ family in empathy. Close to 30 people held hands (without gloves) in a human chain to say the last prayers to him, in his casket, in his hearse.
Everything was done outdoors. Petals were cast on the hearse and wreaths decorated the outside of his house. Only five of his immediate family members accompanied him to the cemetery, as per the new Covid-19-related funeral regulations. Maria, his 92-year-old neighbor, watched the short event play out over 20 minutes.
Normally such an event lasts for 2 days.
Chileans have seen this scenario played out 1,637 times so far this year.