'Awful and Beautiful': Saying Goodbye to Coronavirus Victims Without a Funeral

“There is a deep sadness with not being able to comfort one another,” one faith leader said. “I tell families this will pass. They will get through this.”

A man delivers caskets to the Gerard Neufeld Funeral Home
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Lorena Borjas dedicated her life to helping others as an activist for the transgender community in New York City, bailing people out of jail, fighting against transphobia and championing the rights of human trafficking victims. But when she died this week from COVID-19, the people who loved her the most could not come together to mourn her, according to NBC News.

“She held people together,” said Chase Strangio, a longtime friend and collaborator. “When you lose someone like that, you long for a sense of connecting.”

Saying goodbye to a loved one is a ritual that transcends social and cultural differences. Even in secular societies, survivors participate in some combination of prayer and remembrance to honor the departed. These traditions are being upended as governments across the globe impose strict social distancing orders, forcing people to find new ways to grieve.

“We created a Zoom," Strangio said. "It was the only thing we knew to do."

Read the full story at NBC

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