This year, we’ve seen so many local businesses changing the way they operate on a daily basis, including funeral homes. During the initial coronavirus outbreak, many families were unable to hold funerals for their loved ones due to quarantine and chose to postpone services until restrictions were lifted. Now, many funeral homes have found ways to adapt their funeral services to let families grieve for their loved ones.
Funerals serve two very important functions. First, they honor the life of the person who has died, and second, they bring comfort and solace to the grieving. With social distancing restrictions in place, many families are feeling an extra blow after a loss. They not only lose someone they love, they also lose their chance to be surrounded by the comfort of family and friends.
Families and funeral homes have been working together to implement innovative and creative ways to navigate our grief with meaningful ceremonies. Let’s take a look at a few ideas for holding a meaningful funeral service while practicing social distancing.
After the loss of a loved one, the family sits down to plan a meaningful final tribute. Now, families can meet with the funeral home staff virtually through video conferencing technology like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Skype. By going virtual, the family can stay within the safety of their own home while getting the details of a service taken care of. And with the addition of technology to sign contracts online, the family can sign all the necessary documents without ever leaving home.
The viewing or visitation can be one of the most meaningful parts of the grieving process. But with social distancing restrictions, friends and family are not able to attend these types of events. To fill the need, funeral homes are now offering “walk-through” viewings and visitations. In this way, mourners can pass by quickly and pay their final respects in person and at a safe distance.
Grieving without the presence of loved ones is one of the most painful results of experiencing a loss during the coronavirus pandemic. To ease the family during this time, several funeral homes have come up with ideas for helping the grieving family feel that their friends and family are with them in spirit. Some place long-stem roses in the empty chairs, and some chapels have started offering a “Hugs from Home” program, which gives family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors the opportunity to submit a message of love, support, and encouragement for the family’s private service. Then, the funeral home prints the messages and attaches it to a white balloon. When the grieving family comes to the private funeral ceremony, the chapel is filled with white balloons. These messages of support show the family that friends and relatives are there with them.
Another way that families can include their extended network at a funeral or memorial service is to livestream the event. More and more funeral homes have added livestream services so families can easily request this service. Families can also use services such as Facebook Live to stream events from a tablet or smartphone. These services allow family and friends to attend from the safety of their own home. In some cities, funeral homes have set up drive-in funeral theaters in parking lots and cemeteries, allowing mourners to come together within the safety of their vehicles to watch the live streamed service together.
Funeral processions are a powerful symbol of solidarity and support for a grieving family. Thankfully, they are one aspect of the funeral that allows mourners to maintain social distancing. Some funeral processions during the corona-virus outbreak have become more elaborate, including 100 motorcyclists for a local woman who passed away.
As each day passes, families and funeral directors are collaborating to come up with innovative ideas for grieving. If you have lost a loved one and need to plan a service, contact the funeral homes in your area. They can share with you how they are helping families stay safe and grieve during this COVID-19 crisis.
Our family and staff are here to serve, protect and honor each family. If you have any questions or concerns, please call Roupp Funeral Home at 570.966.2402