[A photo of a grave in Catholic Anseong Memorial Park, Photo Credit: Minjung Kwon]
While the outbreak of COVID-19 has led people to implement “social distancing,” it has also caused an indirect separation between people and the lost spirits. Many people have become vigilant and intimidated to visit their lost ones for the fear that this might go “against the law.”
They have become conscious of the critical and unfavorable views coming from the public to form gatherings, as it might increase the infection rates of COVID-19. People have unfortunately lost the sole opportunity to pray for the welfare of the fallen as they part towards the rough afterlife path.
Nowadays, people have found a new way of commemorating the deceased. A method that does not go against COVID-19 prevention guidelines: commemorating at home or in private. Instead of taking the risky path of commemorating in groups, people have started to commemorate individually.
Although the means of commemoration could be different, people still pray sincerely with all their hearts in private. COVID-19 has unfortunately segregated the alive and the dead, however, they still remain attached in their hearts.
During Korean New Year’s Day, our family drove an hour from Seoul to Cheonan and Anseong to visit my ancestors’ cemetery. As our family arrived at Cheonan Memorial Park, we barely saw any families that visited to perform their ancestral ceremonies for the ones who lost their lives.
Rotating around 1000 acres of brittle remains and souls made me lost in deep thought. This visit alerted me the importance of remembering the deceased during segregation.
The visit has taught me about the value of not only remembering the deceased but also remembering the loved ones, whether it is a friend, one of the family members, relative, or acquaintance. This experience has informed me of the importance of remembering while staying actively involved in COVID-19 prevention safety guidelines.
Seoul Scholars International
Minjung Kwon email@example.com
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