A grieving daughter is appealing for public help to hold a second funeral for her mother after lockdown ends.
Fiona Linton, from Dundee, passed away on Mother’s Day at the age of just 55 – but as her funeral was held when Covid-19 restrictions were in force, only five immediate members of the family were able to attend the service.
Her daughter Jennifer Black said the experience had made it extremely difficult for the family to grieve properly and she still desperately wanted to give her mum a ‘proper send off’.
Speaking to the Tele, Jennifer said: “My mum had a rare genetic disorder called mitochondrial disease and she had a fall back in December. She had been in the hospital ever since.”
Fiona suffered with neurological issues, muscle weakness, blindness and deafness because of her condition.
Shortly before Fiona died on Sunday, March 22, Jennifer brought her mum home because of the hospital’s stringent visiting restrictions during lockdown.
She continued: “Before, when she was in hospital, you could come and go as you pleased.
“It was so difficult not being able to sit with your mum on her deathbed, so we decided to bring her home so they family could be with her for the last couple of days.
“On the day she died I woke up at 5am to go and check on her and she was still with us, so I was able to say ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ to her, but by 7.30am she was away.
“She was a really good mum, and if it was not for her fall, her health would not have deteriorated as quickly as it did.”
Her funeral was held at Dundee Crematorium on Thursday, April 2, but Jennifer is now trying to raise money through crowdfunding to hold a memorial service once lockdown restrictions are lifted.
She said: “Only five people were able to attend her funeral, myself and my two sisters, my husband and one of my sister’s boyfriends.
“Mum’s sisters were not able to come because they didn’t want to risk getting coronavirus.
“It is such a shame because she was such a spirited person who was always laughing, and she was only 55.
“I feel a second funeral will give the whole family time to grieve and give her a proper send off.
“We want to have another service for everyone who missed the first one.
“I am doing an online crowdfunder and on Facebook I have been running raffles and bonus ball giveaways as well.”
She added: “It is not just myself who is going through this, there are lots of people passing away and people are not able to attend their funerals.”
Tania Gillespie, spokeswoman for William Purves, which represents James L Wallace in Dundee and Robert Samson in Broughty Ferry, said funeral directors are having to come up with new ways to run services during the lockdown.
She said: “The lockdown has impacted on how we can deliver our services because there are no church services now and restrictions in crematoriums and cemeteries.
“There is a limit on how many family and friends can attend, which can be tough for families, and another significant thing is we can’t transfer families in our limos anymore, and that is a big part of many people’s expectations of a funeral.
“We are having to come up with innovative and creative solutions to help families holding funerals during the lockdown, because we don’t have the ability to say goodbye in the old way anymore.
“For example, we are live streaming in the crematoriums and at the graveside and doing online obituaries which can be useful for families.
“We are also offering to drive the hearse past neighbours, family and friends who can come to their gate or garden. There are still ways they can show support for the bereaved.
“There is also a social media campaign to revive the old tradition of nodding at a hearse when it goes past – usually in busy traffic, you don’t even notice a hearse going past, but now we do so we are asking people to stop and bow their heads.
“For families following in cars behind the hearse, it is immensely moving for them.”
She added: “I believe we are also the only funeral directors still offering embalming.
“We want to protect families’ rights to say goodbye, because we are here to look after the bereaved as well as the deceased.
“If a family is self-isolating and cannot attend a funeral in lockdown, we can hold onto their loved one and embalm them for a time when they can all get together.”
To donate to the fund for Fiona Linton, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/fionalinton