Many families across the country are finding it hard to enjoy the festive season under the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of them are still trying to come to terms with losing family members due to the pandemic.
There are families today that can no longer do things as they traditionally would under normal circumstances.
Psychologists believe families will need to adjust to new ways of celebrating Christmas this year.
The country has officially entered the second wave of the pandemic forcing President Cyril Ramaphosa to tighten lockdown regulations in some parts of the country.
The Mtshake family in Port Elizabeth had planned to use this festive season to reunite and unveil their brother’s tombstone.
Nqabisa Mtshake explains: “We still hoped that we will do a formal thing by December, like an unveiling of the tombstones so that everybody could be able to be there but still that cannot take place. Other members of the family are everywhere in the world but we can’t come together so there’s no healing yet. It’s scratching on that raw wound, so it really has an impact.”
Another family is still grieving after losing a beloved member just two weeks ago. They are trying to come to terms with their loss. The mother of the deceased, Nondyebo Manana, could not talk with SABC News as she is still devastated.
The mood in the family is a somber one. Nondyebo’s sister Vuyelwa Manana says it’s still difficult to accept.
“The wound is too deep. We have lost somebody that we cannot replace. We cannot talk about her anymore because she is no more, she is no more physically but spiritually we can see her.. she was a very strong person. There is nothing in our home that she couldn’t do. She was a driven person, whatever she put her mind to, she does it. I mean for even my mother; she has lost a daughter; a shoulder to cry on.”
She says this will be a totally different Christmas without the pillar of their family.
“I don’t know how are we going to plan Christmas.. we didn’t even think about Christmas we still in this mourning phase.. and without her, I don’t know how we will get through that day. She was the one that gathers everyone together; our kids and everyone.. so it’s a difficult one I must say without her. I don’t know how we gonna go through the whole December thing without her.”
Clinical psychologist Phaphama Makalima says it certainly won’t be easy for families that have lost loved ones to enjoy the festivities of the season, but she advises that healing starts by accepting the situation.
“It’s really a difficult situation. We feel for the families that have lost their family members. We want to console them as well at the same time and this time of this December; it’s time of reflecting, and it’s time for being with families and now they will be reminded once again that their loved ones have passed away. So there’s feelings of grief, sadness, and loss of; not just the actual person, but the things this person was bringing in to the family.”
The new normal has compelled families around the world to adjust to different ways of staying in touch with loved ones. This would include video calls, family WhatsApp groups, and other platforms to keep the Christmas spirit alive.
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