Family’s pain at limits placed on Gordon Santo's funeral
GORDON Santo's family has faced the agony of losing a loved one and the financial pain of funding his funeral after his sudden death.
But added to the emotional toll has been whittling down the number of family members who could attend to say their final farewells on Friday.
Mr Santo, known to family, friends and his footy playing mates as Gordie or The Big Unit, was killed in a head-on crash on the Bruce Highway near Farleigh on April 6.
His mother, Deborah Santo, said the delay in burying her son was due in part to financial restraints, but also compounded by the coronavirus pandemic which restricted the number of people able to attend the funeral.
"We wanted to see if the restrictions would change," Mrs Santo said.
Chief Health Officer directives meant in the weeks after Gordie's death, just 10 people were allowed to attend a funeral.
The restrictions have been relaxed to 30 people to gather in an outdoor burial - a plan for which the family has now opted.
Mrs Santo said her family had applied to the Health Department for 80 to 100 people to attend the graveside service.
Accepting the decision, Mrs Santo said the family had narrowed the attendees from the family to 30 people, but had requested approval for six more pallbearers - who would not be part of the official service - to carry her son's casket.
The decision was denied.
"We're devastated," Mrs Santo said. "It's just unbearable. We are all feeling it; we're all depressed."
Mrs Santo said the family, left with little choice, would follow the direction.
A Queensland Health spokesperson said while unable to comment on individual exemptions, the department's "thoughts are with those who have lost a loved one".
"Limiting large gatherings is critical in ensuring we continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect vulnerable members of our community," the spokesperson said.