The coronavirus or COVID 19 and its effects on society are unprecedented and untested by this generation.
Most of us post war babies have never experienced anything like it in the Western World. Life has improved over post war decades years with evolution in technology and lifestyles. Funerals and choices in how we say goodbye to loved ones, is something that has also changed significantly.
Our lives are very different to those of our parent’s and grandparent’s generations.
More people nowadays see funeral ceremonies as a ‘celebration’ of the life of a lost loved one. Readings, poetry and music along with the occasional theme to a funeral are more the norm. Of course, others prefer the traditional ceremony with a minister and all mourners wearing black. That’s OK too.
What has never changed though, is the feelings of respect for the departed. All services involved in funerals and ceremonies such as Funeral Directors and Celebrants will always feel and afford their service with the utmost respect to the loved one and their family.
The coronavirus has caused Funeral Directors and Celebrants to dramatically adjust how they interact with their families. Some of the new restrictions during this period may make us seem less respectful.
This is far from the truth and the respect is 100% present but how we demonstrate that respect has had to change.
Some Funeral Directors are no longer providing limousines for families, some are not shoulder bearing coffins, social distancing at ceremonies, limited numbers of mourners permitted in chapels. No hugs or handshakes, no wiping away tears of loss and no singing. No standing around afterwards sharing stories, laughter and tears and obviously no Wake or reception to raise a glass or a cup in honour of a loved one.
As providers we are saddened by this, but we know it is for the greater good and we must abide by it, however challenging and uncomfortable it may feel.
We feel for families, as they have only one chance to say a final good bye. Close and lifelong friends are prevented from attending a ceremony. Many will feel a sense of loss just because they are not able to say their final farewells to people who have meant so much to them.
As a celebrant, I will be very happy offer my families the chance to celebrate at a later date should they wish to provide a delayed wake when life returns to normal. I can include a Memorial Celebration Ceremony to enable families and friends to acknowledge a fitting farewell to their lost loved one, through sharing a wonderful life story, music and whatever else the families wish to include and whatever they feel is important and relevant to them and their loved one.
It may not be the same but hopefully it will be the next best thing to provide much needed respect and comfort to families and friends and allow them to say farewell.