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The Purpose of Funerals: Should You Plan Services for a Loved One During the Coronavirus Crisis?

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Funerals are a valuable part of the grieving process, where close family members and friends can gather to celebrate the life lived, rather than the life lost. Beyond that, it’s a time for mourners to truly and fully acknowledge the reality of the death. 

But in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, many families are faced with the difficult decision to hold services that look and feel very different than what they’re traditionally accustomed to—ultimately changing how we say goodbye to a loved one. 

While traditional funerals, as we know, have changed to accommodate current safety guidelines, the purpose of funerals remain the same: to remember the lost and comfort the living.

Below, we explore the purpose of funerals both now and in the future, as well as the role of funeral professionals in planning arrangements during your time of need.

Should I plan services for a loved one right now?

Families are facing a seemingly impossible choice right now when it comes to honoring the life and legacy of a loved one. With gatherings limited to 10 people or fewer, you may be tempted to skip the service altogether. But, it’s important to reflect on the purpose of these rituals to help you properly grieve your loss.

According to the Center for Loss and Life Transition:

“The funeral ritual…is a public, traditional, and symbolic means of expressing our beliefs, thoughts and feelings about the death of someone loved. Rich in history and rife with symbolism, the funeral ceremony helps us acknowledge the reality of the death, gives testimony to the life of the deceased, encourages expression of grief in a way consistent with the culture’s values, provides support to mourners, allows for the embracing of faith and beliefs about life and death, and offers continuity and hope for the living.”

Knowing the importance of final arrangements to help families heal, many funeral homes, including ours, are finding ways to support families during this difficult time by reimagining services.

At Busch, we offer live-streaming technologies to help families gather, even if loved ones can’t participate in person. Our funeral home will provide you with a private link to share with guests, so they can view services.

While nothing can replace hugs and in-person interactions from close family members and friends, seeing your community come together to celebrate your loved one’s life virtually can help satisfy your need for connection during this time. Additionally, technology like an online guest book serves as a place where those close to your loved one can share their condolences. Reading their messages can be a great source of comfort, which you can lean on.

Keep in mind that when no funeral is held, families may push their loved one’s death further and further away. This delays the natural healing process, resulting in feelings of anger and regret that resurface later on.

That said, if you’d rather hold an intimate gathering now with just immediate family, talk with the funeral home. They’ll work with you to make sure everything aligns with your wishes, as some families aren’t comfortable with streaming services for others to see. Then, if you wish to hold a larger, all-inclusive service later when social distancing requirements are lifted, you can.

What will funerals look like post-pandemic?

Following the coronavirus crisis, we all look forward to the day when we can gather again in-person to care for one another. But even as restrictions are slowly lifted, we believe technology will play a part in celebrating a life by helping even more people participate.

Many funeral homes now offer recording options as a result of the pandemic, but this will continue even after to involve those separated by distance. Similarly, families may request that all guest books and video tributes be made available online for mourners to record their condolences.

The planning of services will differ, too. With technology tools for online arrangement collaboration, service selection options, merchandise offerings, obituary writing, death certificate completion, confirmation identification viewing and DocuSign, some families may request to plan services over the phone versus in-person.

Planning of services online gives families more options and more convenience. But post-pandemic, we highly encourage families to return to in-person events, supplementing with available technology options for max community benefit. For example, if a family member is far away and cannot travel due to health restrictions, live-streaming of services in the future would provide them a more personal experience.

No matter the circumstances, we’re here to help you conduct a meaningful and memorable services that aligns with your needs and your loved one’s wishes. For the foreseeable future, any gatherings of large groups of people will be done with added precautions—with the ultimate goal of helping to keep people safe and healthy.

Why are funeral directors an important part of the planning process?

Helping others cope with the emotional upheaval a major loss brings is a funeral director’s most important job. Funeral professionals are experts when it comes to providing comfort, care and compassion for grieving families.

Now, more than ever, funeral professionals have a responsibility to provide families with a safe and healthy space to mourn and heal. In addition to bereavement consolation, funeral directors are trained to make the planning process easier on families by helping to manage every step of their loved one’s final arrangements.

While the coronavirus crisis complicates this process, a funeral director will be available to help you with the following items:

  • Transfer of the deceased to the funeral home.
  • Gather necessary information for the burial or cremation, as well as the funeral service.
  • File all authorizations, certificates and permits required by law.
  • Assist with an obituary.
  • Make arrangements for your choice of gathering—now, in the future or both.
  • Assist with notifying relatives.
  • Assist with meaningful floral arrangements.
  • Direct the funeral services in a professional manner.
  • Assist families with social security benefits.

Taking on this responsibility lifts the burden off families, so they can focus on being with each other during likely the most difficult times of your life.

We’re Available to Answer Your Questions

As the coronavirus crisis continues, we want you to know that our caring and compassionate staff is available. This is uncharted territory for all of us, so feel free to contact us should you have any questions. Our team is trained and experienced to provide you with answers to all of your questions. 

 

 

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