Losing a loved one and planning a funeral amid covid restrictions are amongst the starkest and cruelest parts of the coronavirus pandemic. Both practically and emotionally, the reality of families and friends being kept apart at a time they need to be together more than ever is heart-wrenching.
We believe that a personal funeral, which is truly meaningful to your family and your loved one, is a vital part of the grieving process – and that enabling this to happen despite the covid restrictions is paramount. We’ve had the privilege of working with so many families during the pandemic who have strived to find warmth within the emptiness and creativity amid the covid restrictions. From that here’s some of our favourite ways to create personal, beautiful funerals, full of love and character – safely – despite these difficult times.
Toasting at home:
You might not be able to gather after the service and share memories over food and drinks, but why not give everyone a little edible gift to take away with them, to enjoy privately at home whilst reminiscing over their favourite memories alone or with their household group. A mini bottle of wine to raise a toast to them, or perhaps a favourite food of your loved one. A Cornish pasty, a slice of chocolate brownie, a cream tea – whatever they couldn’t resist.
Memories from those who can’t attend
Ask absent friends and family to send a video, audio or written message of their favourite memory of your loved one, or some words about what they particularly loved about them. Compile these to play or read during the service, to include those wider words of comfort and participation from others.
The opportunities to personalise the service with a hearse, coffin, floral arrangements, dress code and order of service design that truly reflect their personality are all still available and perhaps more important than ever. Whether they arrive in a motorcycle hearse, have a koala shaped floral tribute, a glittery green coffin or you ask everyone to wear rugby shirts, make the service a celebration of their individual character.
Embrace the intimacy
With the attendees being limited to those absolutely closest, some of the things that are common in a traditional funeral – for example a eulogy outlining someone’s life history, achievements, stories typifying their character etc, aren’t needed, because everyone present already knows these things so well. Instead, focus on the way that person made you feel, the things you’ll miss, the things that made you proudest. Do this knowing you are amongst others who will know and feel the same, and share these same intimate feelings.
Consider having a videographer at the service. Live-stream and/or create a beautiful film of the service so that those unable to attend can feel involved. You could also send out digital playlists, film tributes or copies of the order of service, so that they can be connected to the occasion from home. Many families have used the order of service booklet not just as a running order of the ceremony, but as a tribute book made up of photographs, personal thoughts, favourite poems, songs or literature extracts, to send to wider family and friends as a keepsake.