The global pandemic that began just over a year ago has vastly changed many aspects of our daily lives. One of the most-affected elements of society is our ability to gather together in groups, as many counties and states have deemed large gatherings too unsafe to sanction during this time. This can really derail plans for a traditional funeral. That service you’ve visualized and prepared for may not be possible at this time of turmoil. On top of losing a loved one and all the stress and anxiety that can accompany that occurrence, now you have to think about a funeral or memorial service in a whole different way. Hopefully this post will help you make alterations without feeling like you have to make concessions.
If you’re unable to gather at all
You may feel disappointed that you are not able to host the funeral you would like to for your loved one because of the limitations and restrictions your state or county has implemented. There are still ways to celebrate the life of your loved one and involve all the people who want to participate.
Consider live-streaming the event to include the maximum number of people with the minimum amount of in-person exposure. There are free software programs and apps that will allow any camera-enabled device to live-stream your service. You can send a link to a list of virtual “guests” or post a link to social media, and an unlimited number of people can tune in and watch the funeral as it’s actually happening. Your funeral director may be able to assist you with this plan—many funeral directors are becoming familiar with live-streaming as it becomes more and more popular.
Another idea is more of a replacement than an augmentation: a memorial website. Instead of an in-person wake or memorial service, you can easily create a website for free using Google Site or Wix. Your website could have photos, slideshows, videos, and you can even make a message board for remembrances and well-wishes so that “guests” can interact and contribute.
If your group is limited
Perhaps your pre-planning efforts are not completely cancelled, but your guest list has to be altered or reduced because of limits placed on gatherings in your area. One creative way to involve those who are unable to come because of travel restrictions or risk factors is to record their memories and make a compilation. This takes some extra preparation and effort beforehand, but can make a huge difference in the event itself—it’ll feel like all your loved ones are there, even if they’re not!
Keep in mind that if you have to limit the group, many people who have a desire to be there will not be able to come. Take pictures for those who are absent! Posting funeral photos on social media is becoming more and more common, and it allows loved ones to feel involved in the occasion, even if they couldn’t be there at the time.