Mourning In Uncertainty: Covid-19 And Funerals

These are confusing and unprecedented times. Covid-19 has seemingly taken our world hostage and with it the rituals that often provide us a sense of normalcy and comfort. When a loved one passes, we desperately need the closure that a funeral or memorial service provides. Yet social distancing guidelines set in place by the CDC have made traditional services nearly impossible.

Groups of ten or more people are prohibited, and guests are required to stay at least six feet apart. This has turned what should be a time of gathering, mourning and comforting into a time of awkward and hug-less distance.

Thankfully, people have come together to make the best out of the worst situation happening at the worst time and have created a few other options for loved ones to commemorate someone they’ve lost:

  • Livestream the service with handouts sent by mail.
  • Hold an intimate service with a memorial later on.
  • Host a virtual memorial.
  • Share the effect the deceased had on your life.
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Livestream the service.

Many funeral homes and clergy have done everything they can to provide the same quality of service they normally would but in a different way. When it is impossible to host an actual funeral, they have been turning to services such as Zoom and Vimeo to allow family and friends to tune in and listen to their comforting message, songs and memories of the deceased. Materials such as funeral programs can be sent out via mail to provide a sense of normalcy during the service.

It should be noted that the NFDA has recommended that funeral providers not use Facebook or YouTube to live-stream funerals due to issues with music copyrights. Many of the songs typically played for a funeral service would be automatically muted by their algorithms for copyright infringement.

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Hold an intimate service.

Another option that we’ve seen over the past few months is holding a very small and intimate service with plans for a larger memorial service in the future. This would only include the most immediate family members, and they would still have to maintain a constant distance of six feet from each other throughout the duration of the service.

Some funeral homes have even gone so far as to have families come to the service in shifts, walk up to the casket one at a time and even allow guests to drive by in their vehicles to observe.

All of this is often done with the promise that everyone will be able to come together at a later date to hold a large memorial for the deceased when it is safe and allowed by the CDC.

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Host a virtual memorial.

Virtual gatherings, whether it be for small groups, work meetings or school lessons, have become the norm in the past few months. And some people have used the same technique to virtually bring together their friends and family to honor their passed loved one. Apps like Zoom and Google Meet allow them to gather at the same time and contribute comforting words and memories together.

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Share your memories.

If all else fails and there is no way for you to physically join the mourning of your friends or family, simply reach out. Take the time to write a thoughtful letter to the person or family affected most by the loss. Tell them about the effect their loved one had on your life. They may never have realized what that person meant to you, and knowing would be remarkably impactful.

Even sharing memories that might seem insignificant or silly would be enough to bring a smile to their face and offer them a few minutes of peace.

If you are faced with the difficult task of planning a funeral for your loved one or know someone who is and want to help, can make that process easier. We offer customizable prayer cards, funeral programs and bookmarks that will hold the memory of your loved one in the hearts of their friends and family for generations.

Allow us to add a beautiful, tangible element to your service that will bring everyone together, even from a distance.