Christmas Message 2020

By: James MacLeod - Managing Director, Tobin Brothers Funerals
Thursday, December 17, 2020

In our lifetimes there has never been a more important time to gather.

As 2020 commenced, after our country was crippled with bushfires and so many tragically lost their homes and some their loved ones, we then watched from afar as the impact of COVID19 set in, in what were confronting scenes in Wuhan, China. Little did we know that COVID19 would put our great country Australia into lockdown and the great city and State I live in in Melbourne, Victoria into the most significant lockdown in the World.

With lockdown came an inability for so many in our community to gather with family and friends, to attend work, to attend community events, children’s schools and their sporting events and the list goes on. 2020 also delivered a curfew, where you had to be home by 8pm. It reminded me very much of my childhood days when my father would say be home before dark. Whilst we have been able to engage albeit by phones or social media it is just not the same as gathering physically. 

We have seen that first-hand at funeral services throughout 2020 where for several months only 10 mourners were allowed to attend a loved one’s funeral. This has been one of the most difficult things I have observed in my lifetime as a Funeral Director.


So, with that all in mind, this Christmas, New Year and the holiday period becomes such an important time for us to gather. In many ways the hardship experienced in 2020 has identified with so many in the community what is really important. For me it has only elevated the importance of family and real friends. For me life is a lot simpler and that will be applied to Christmas, New Year and the holiday period also. The year has been so stressful for so many, the last thing we need to do is to apply the additional burden of stress during the festive season.

To anyone who is isolated from their family this Christmas, our thoughts are with you. Recent restrictions in Greater Sydney and the North Coast mean so many more families will be unable to physically gather this year. Our hope is that technology can keep you connected via phone, facetime and zoom to still share memories together this year, even though you are apart.

For those who have experienced loss this year and as you face your first Christmas without the loved one present at your dining table we very much think of you. In so many ways for so many people that experienced loss in 2020, much of their grief is still unresolved. For many, COVID19 restricted family members from being with their loved ones prior to their death, limited the number of loved ones that could attend the funeral or at a family gathering afterward and I am sure as a result your loss will be felt significantly more during this festive season.

If you have experienced loss, can I encourage you on Christmas Day to do what is right for you. Talk about your loved one, play their favourite music, light a candle in their memory, bake their favourite food, toast them with their favourite drink, tell those funny stories, have some quiet time in that special place to both your loved one and you. There is no right or wrong, no one walks in your shoes and you should do what is best for you during this festive season.


Attached are some helpful hints on how to cope with Christmas in particular.


For me, Christmas is somewhat different yet again. It only seems like a few short years ago where all the kids would gather in the street on Christmas morning, riding their new bike, playing with their remote control car, wheeling their newly put together doll stroller down the path. All those kids now have cars with P plates on them in our street and those beautiful happy noises that you hear from children early on a Christmas morning are no longer. This year I will be surrounded by those that are near and dear to me, my wife Louise, my son Gus, who we have largely been separated from since March this year as he lives interstate, and my daughter Grace. The fact that we as a family can get together now is so special and there will be so many families here and abroad that will find this festive season extremely tough as there is an empty chair around their table.


If you haven’t yet watched our Christmas Remembrance Service you can do so via the link


Furthermore, if you need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to call Lifelife 13 11 14 at Christmas, New Year or any other day.


All the best for Christmas and 2021, stay safe.

Kind Regards

James MacLeod


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