Governor Cuomo, Let New Yorkers Say Goodbye...

Governor Cuomo, Let New Yorkers Say Goodbye …


The past 10 weeks of apocalyptic strife has wreaked havoc on both daily routines and longstanding traditions alike.  The lives we lead just 6 months ago are memories in a faded distance.  All that was once so familiar is now lost.  And while we are perpetually encouraged to embrace the “new norm” by our elected officials in the State of New York, and the ultimate influencer, the media, I cannot sit quietly and succumb.


 New Yorkers are being denied their chance to grieve and it is creating emotional and psychological hardships.  Grief is the price you pay for loving, and therefore the ability to grieve is a “right” you are owed following the loss of a loved one.  What’s happened to funerals and the rituals we’ve grown accustomed to in death is a casualty of the COVID crisis.  In addition to the basic freedoms and liberties we’ve lost such as the right to gather, assemble, worship, work & provide for our families, we’ve lost the right to say goodbye to those we’ve lost.


The arbitrary nature of reopening guidelines leaves much to be wondered.  Why can we gather in Walmart or Target, yet not bring a lifelong Catholic into a church for the funeral rite?  Why can women receive an abortion, yet for so long, surgeries that were deemed “elective”, were postponed? One has serious cause to question the motives behind telling a cancer patient the removal of a tumor is elective, yet the choice to terminate a life is essential.  The politics that underlie these rules and regulations are being unmasked before our eyes. 



No one can challenge the premise that COVID is real and has claimed the lives of many.  Alternatively, no one can challenge the recovery numbers that far exceed the fatalities.  COVID is here, we understand, but the world is still spinning.  We can no longer stand idle upon it.


While we should all exercise precaution as we face the unknown, we need to find ways to do so without impeding on basic human rights and needs.  Funerals should be permitted with proper care taken to ensure the safety of mourners.  Chapels have reduced their seating capacity, attendees are required to wear masks, social distancing measures have been implemented in funeral homes, but it's time to open the door to those who grieve.  In addition, the Archdiocese of New York needs to allow its own moral compass to dictate funeral guidelines.  I call on Cardinal Dolan to challenge our Governor in permitting funerals back in the church.  We will all willingly comply with reduced numbers of attendees, keeping mourners separated in pews, but we need to walk back into our churches.  The funeral rite is among the most sacred for Catholics.  A life lived in faith is culminated when the casket is carried into the doors of the church and the white pall that is placed on top symbolizing the completion of the circle of Catholic life.  Memorial Masses, while they serve a purpose, can’t adequately replicate the traditions of a Funeral Mass.  The opportunities being denied are irreplaceable.  Grief that is “put off “comes back, often with a vengeance.

Governor Cuomo, enough.  The State has infringed on the rights of its citizens for long enough.  This is not about medicine or science anymore.  This is arbitrary, capricious and simply a matter of control.  Let people gather to support grieving families and say goodbye to a loved one lost.  We are functioning human beings who don’t need excessive government oversight, also known as, “babysitting”.  We are smart enough to wear a mask and wise enough to protect the most vulnerable. 


Death waits for no one, not even you sir and the phased reopening plan you’ve devised.


Let people gather safely to mourn, honor and pray for the souls of the faithfully departed.



Jennifer Graziano

Coxe & Graziano Funeral Home


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