In these times of uncertainty, it feels as if everything is up in the air and it is, but hasn’t adversity always been the instigator of innovation? Giving us the headspace to think about how we can do things differently for the greater good and in our own personal worlds. People are reaching out and helping others in ways that have been nothing less than selfless and inspirational. Necessity being the catalyst to change, creativity has always been at the very centre of my role as an independent celebrant. Clients are telling me about their worries and fears and I can feel their desperation, especially when it comes to funeral services.
The Impact of Coronavirus or Covid19
Because of the new Coronavirus we find ourselves in situations that we could never have imagined and things are changing daily. Funeral services are becoming shorter in time and smaller in other ways. In some cities direct cremation or burial being the only option with no relatives in attendance and without a service or words of farewell, which is heart breaking for all concerned. Families are able to attend funerals in Greater Manchester for example but the guidance on numbers changes from borough to Borough. Restricting the numbers of mourners to between 2 and 10 people depending on local regulations. It is necessary to social distancing but upsetting to see chairs spaced widely apart and pews cordoned off. Procedures are also changing, in some crematoria curtains have to be closed at the end of the service, people are not allowed to pause at the coffin to say a final farewell and because of increasing death rates funerals are already happening at weekends.
Creative Funerals and Fond Farewells
It is still possible to say a fitting farewell, but we do need to think differently, it was a conversation with Rosie Grant from Natural Endings Funeral Services about how we can support people just when they are at their most vulnerable that made me think about how we can reach out, instigating this blog. For a while now we have been breaking away from the ‘norm’ of traditional funeral services, leaning towards more personalised and creative ways to say goodbye. There is no reason why we can’t expand on this, if for whatever reason you find yourself in a situation in which you are unable to attend the funeral of a loved one, you can still be there in virtual reality.
Funeral services can be arranged electronically, by email, over the phone, on Skype and Zoom. Zoom is a great resource for inviting lots of people to a gathering and easily downloaded via an app. When the funeral service been written and agreed, it can be recorded or live streamed so that loved ones can be present, which means you can still honour your loved ones and say farewell. There is also scope for collaboration. Richard Brown, a Funeral Celebrant based in Italy has recently carried out a virtual funeral service in which people shared memories, colleagues read poems, someone was in charge of the playing the music and a photographic slideshow played in the background it was virtually the same as any other funeral. People attended in a Zoom room, which meant that they could see each other and hopefully feel comforted by friendly faces. It was an uplifting and positive move towards facilitating a meaningful farewell in collaboration with like-minded colleagues. I have recently carried out a funeral service in which the Funeral Director filmed the service on his ipad and emailed it to the family.
Memorial Services and Celebrating Lives
You can never underestimate the value of human contact, a hug, the brief touch of a hand, a look that says, “I’m here for you, I know what you are going through” the sharing of memories, stories and anecdotes that encapsulate the very essence of your loved one. There will be those of you who have already said goodbye but families are telling us that they would like the opportunity to have a celebration of life or memorial service at a later date. Surrounded by those who would normally have been by their side at the funeral, without fear or separation, the people you feel comfortable with, bringing love and mutual support.
Find out more
If you would like to speak to me or Rosie about how to create a meaningful farewell, you can contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Rosie Grant from Natural Endings Funeral Services on email@example.com to arrange a time to talk,
for now, look after one another and please stay safe…
Hi, I’m Liz…
I am a family Celebrant based in Manchester and my aim is to help you create truly unique and personal ceremonies and services. I have arranged many a funeral service or ceremony over Zoom, Skype and email, more so with the outbreak of Coronavirus or Covid19 and want to stress that there is hope and we will find a way together to say meaningful farewells to our loved ones.