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Reflecting on a year of Covid pandemic in Norfolk

Norfolk County Council Chaplain, Rev Dr Liviu Barbu, reflects on a year of the Covid-19 pandemic, its victims and those bereaved and otherwise affected.


The end-of-life charity Marie Curie led the initiative to mark a National Day of Reflection for all those who died so far of Covid-19 and their families and friends, on March 23, exactly one year after the UK went into the first lockdown.
I would also like to add that we should not forget the many living with long-term post-Covid-19 health consequences and also remember the carers and the medical staff who look after the ill patients and often have to accompany them in the difficult last moments of their lives. 
It is estimated that there are approximately three million bereaved people in the UK. Of the national death toll, about 2,000 people died of Covid-19 in Norfolk. Apart from the scores of those who died, many more bereaved people who need emotional support. They may still be in shock, in disbelief, depressed, living in fear and confused. For those, life has dramatically changed forever in a very short period of time. Dying away from loved ones is difficult to endure, to say the least, for both the living and the dying. Mourning has not run its natural course, last words had not been said and many dead were harried into the graves under exceptional circumstances.
Regardless of what we believe and how we view life and death, we could all perhaps agree that life and death have been much complicated and made more difficult by this pandemic. In our church services, we often pray to God for a peaceful, good and dignified end to our life. Life is an earthly journey and death is its last station, the conclusion of the road, a last chapter, but also for many people who passed away and for their families, the opening of a new one, yet one that needs healing.
The breath of life, the symbol of life itself, has been taken away so abruptly and so painfully from so many, who lost their lives in precipitated circumstances, due to this evil and cunning disease. I think, and I hope, that for the bereaved it is at least of some comfort to know that those who passed away have not just suddenly disappeared into non-existence and that their memory is kept alive and their lives remembered and celebrated. Our loved ones live on in our and God's memory. From a Christian perspective, each person who ever existed is unique, a fact also confirmed not only by faith, but also by experience and science. 
People throughout the UK observed a minute of silence at noon and have placed daffodils on window sills and in the evening lighted a candle on their doorsteps, remembering reverently all those who died, suffered or still suffer. There were also a range of related activities which took place across the UK.
Finally, may we keep alive the memory of all those who lost their lives in this pandemic and may God and us, as much as we can, comfort the bereaved with the warmth of our heartfelt compassion and provide every possible practical help and support.
Pictured above is the memorial to the 2000 victims of Covid-19 in Norfolk at Norwich Anglican Cathedral. Picture courtesy of the Cathedral.

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Published: 24/03/2021