Funerals ‘very overwhelming’ due to coronavirus mandates, says Raleigh woman who lost her husband

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Laying a family member or friend to rest is never easy. Coronavirus has made it even tougher. Large families can no longer come together and can’t console one another like they normally would.

“It’s very overwhelming. Very overwhelming,” Mary McKoy said.

McKoy is grieving the loss of her husband, Joe — or Bud, as everyone called him.

“You miss people being able to hug you and, you know, mourn with you,” she explained.

Bud’s family wasn’t able to see him in the nursing home these last few weeks because of the restrictions in place. At the end, the pandemic also kept them out of the hospice facility.

“We can’t have the memorial service we planned to have,” said Bud’s oldest daughter, Joycelynn Hopkins.

Bud was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. He married McKoy in October 1961.

“He was a man’s man. He was a take charge person,” McKoy said.

“You would have to love him to deal with him and I did,” said Bud’s nephew, Ted Mangum.

Bud died Monday from a spinal cord injury and pneumonia. He was 82 years old. He leaves behind his wife, four children, 9 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

“It’s been harder for family to get here. Like, we have family out of state that would like to come but, because of the pandemic, their states are closed and they can’t travel,” Hopkins said.

“We’re having to ask them to just have immediate family come,” said Orrin Haywood with the Haywood Funeral Home.

Haywood said coronavirus has meant changes. People are encouraged to wear masks, to keep wakes to fewer than 10 people, and to social distance. Some have opted for smaller gravesite ceremonies with plans to hold a larger memorial service later.

“We have phone calls. We have phone chats,” Hopkins said.

Bud’s family hopes to hold a larger memorial service once gatherings like that are allowed.

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