The last thing Jane Egan wanted to do for her mum after she died was help to lower her coffin into her grave.
Instead Jane said she had to stand five metres away while council grave diggers placed her mother, Margaret Ferrie, in her last resting place.
Now, the Dundee mum has called for coronavirus restrictions relating to funerals to be reviewed, particularly as wider rules have eased and pubs and restaurants have re-opened.
She believes there would have been no danger in holding cords with her father and two sons, as they all live in the same house.
The cords are also lowered with the grave, meaning nobody else would touch them afterwards.
But Dundee City Council said this was not allowed due to coronavirus restrictions.
Jane, who lives in Greendykes Road, said: “We were robbed of the last decent respectful time we could have spent with our loved one, my mum.
“I take great exception to this and I don’t agree with the decision at all.
“Due to the easing of restrictions you can go for a drink to the pub, go shopping and meet up in a coffee shop but the four of us weren’t allowed to take a cord, in the open air, for two minutes.”
Jane’s mum, Margaret died on May 18, aged 71 after suffering a series of strokes.
For the last week of her life Jane and her dad, John, 75, who is currently fighting cancer, nursed Margaret at home.
Following her funeral service on May 28 at St Atherton’s Church, Margaret was taken to Birkhill Cemetery for her burial.
What are the rules?
Dundee is in Level 2 of lockdown restrictions.
This means up to 50 people can attend funerals. However, social distancing must be maintained and face coverings must be worn.
Singing is not allowed and mourners cannot move coffins to gravesides.
Jane said: “This has been heartbreaking and distressing for all of us.
“Having nursed mum to the end my dad and I wanted to do this last thing for her and we weren’t allowed.”
Jane said she asked the council when a risk assessment of funerals was last carried out but received no response.
It was only two days before the funeral she was told she would not be allowed to hold the chords.
An email from the council to Jane stated: “Dundee City Council changed the previously accepted burial process in March 2020 due to very specific obligations in relation to social and physical distancing.
“This has led to risk mitigations being introduced which means that only council staff are now involved in moving the coffin to the graveside and then carefully lowering into the lair.
“This ensures social distancing of two metres can be maintained in accordance with the current guidance and that this delicate operation can still be undertaken in a safely controlled and dignified manner.”
The email continued: “This process has been arranged following consultation and review of risk assessment processes, between the council’s operational managers, health and safety staff and funeral directors.”
But Jane thinks it is time this is reviewed to allow grieving families as much input as possible.
“I can’t understand this at all. We all live together and as for the cord it goes into the ground immediately afterwards and is not touched by anyone else,” she said.
“I’m sure we’re not the only family distressed by this so-called guidance and I think the council need to take another look at this as restrictions are now easing everywhere else.”
A council spokesman said the local authority must “fully comply” with guidance from the Scottish Government.
“Whilst there has been a recent relaxation of wider restrictions, current government guidance continues to stipulate the need to ensure that appropriate physical distancing measures must remain in place,” he added.
“It is important the council adheres to its duty of care in relation to this guidance and that appropriate risk mitigation measures are in place to adequately protect staff, funeral directors and mourners attending burial ceremonies.
“We appreciate this is a difficult issue for grieving families which has been caused by the pandemic, officers have attempted to sensitively explain the situation to Mrs Egan.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson declined to comment but sent national guidance for funerals which said there “may be” circumstances when families can have a role.
It states: “Because of the requirement to remain two metres apart from one another, in most cases, staff will only be able to ensure a coffin is carried correctly and safely by undertaking this without family involvement.
“However, each funeral director is able to carry out a risk assessment and there may be circumstances where the family can have a role in carrying the coffin, such as carrying it as a single household, and the options should be discussed with the relatives.”