'I watch as grieving family and friends surround one another with love and care'

The Rector of Leeds has issued a message to families who have lost loved ones during thed Covid-19 pandemic.

Saturday, 2nd May 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Sunday, 3rd May 2020, 3:40 pm

And Reverend Canon Sam Corley has shared a prayer, which he hopes people will find useful

Rev Corley said: "The impact of Covid-19 is felt most cruelly when people who mean the world to us die and we cannot be with them. It hurts like hell.

"But, if we can dare to believe it, there are two truths holding out hands to us in the depths of loss and isolation.

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Reverend Sam Corley

"The first is that no one dies alone. The story of Easter reminds us that Jesus experienced death, empty-handed and alone.

"He entered into that darkest of valleys – that utter end - that hell on earth.

"And because he has been there, then we need not fear, because even in death God is there to find us. Because he is there, nobody dies alone. Ever.

"The second is that we do not grieve alone. One of the privileges of my work is leading funerals - helping people find words and rituals that help them say what needs to be said and done at a time when finding the right words or knowing what to do is one of the biggest challenges.

"I watch as grieving family and friends surround one another with love and care as they remember together and say goodbye.

"That being together is a powerful reminder that we are not alone in our grief.

"Others are standing with us and are committed to facing the future with us.

"For now the number of mourners able to attend a funeral is severely restricted, and that can compound our sense of being isolated. Grief can feel big and powerful and leave us feeling small and isolated.

"Yet the truth is that we are loved and mean the world to others. Somehow, we need to find ways to remind ourselves of that. We need to find a way of collecting not just the memories of those who have died, but also the words and encouragement of those who will be with us as we journey into the future.

"Death rends apart bonds and relationships. But it never has the final word. The final word belongs to love and love is always the place where what feels lost finds its home.

"Here is a prayer you may find useful at this time:"

Keep us, good Lord,

under the shadow of your mercy

in this time of uncertainty and distress.

Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,

and lift up all who are brought low;

that we may rejoice in your comfort

knowing that nothing can separate us

from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord.