The last few months have been difficult for all of us as we adjust to a new normal during the coronavirus pandemic. And for those facing the death of a loved one during this time, things feel even more stressful. Today, we’d like to take a moment to remind you of a few things to consider when planning a funeral during the pandemic.
Consult with Your Funeral Director
Social distancing is very much in place for all aspects from making arrangements for burial or cremation to meeting at the cemetery or returning the cremation ash. In talking with funeral directors across the country, we’ve learned that everyone is handling things differently. Many funeral homes are offering online arrangements, or they may email a PDF for the family to fill out to start the arrangement process.
Some funeral homes allow visitations or a wake, following the guideline of 10 people or less. Families can gather at an appointed time and the same for the public so they can pay their respects. One funeral director shared with me how a community celebrated the life of a friend by driving by her home to pay respect to the family. Cars were lined down the street for three blocks. Many funeral homes are offering free memorial services once social distancing guidelines are lifted.
The same guidelines apply to cemetery services. If attendance is more than 10, people will stay in their cars during the committal services. There are cemeteries that will only allow the funeral director to deliver the remains to the cemetery and no committal services are allowed. Other cemeteries may allow a roadside service at the cemetery entrance while others may be operating as usual. Before planning any services, you’ll need to understand what’s available to you.
Take Time to Understand Your Options
Funeral professionals are there to help you sort through the vast amount of options as to what can and cannot be done during this pandemic. Pre-pandemic, most life celebrations took place within a few days after the death. However, due to current events families have a little more time to discuss the specifics than they normally might not have. Families may want to consider gathering over a holiday or a special date to celebrate their loved one; to share memories or maybe visit the burial site together as a family. Here is a link to valuable information to help if you are faced with arranging a funeral.
Loss of Traditions
To stay within state and local guidelines, funeral practices and traditions have been disrupted. The funeral profession is adapting daily to make every effort to provide families the opportunity to properly say goodbye to their loved ones. The professionals we spoke with are united in agreement that to strive to meet every need as professionally and practically as possible. When faced with a death during these challenging times, families are adapting to the new way of saying goodbye. It is important to allow yourself to grieve. We all grieve differently and with the added stress of disrupted funeral practices, we should remember that our grief must not be put on hold.
It is our hope that this blog provides some guidance if you are faced with the monumental task of saying goodbye to a loved one. Think about what is important to you and how you want to remember and honor that special life. Then, talk to your funeral director about the best ways to move forward.