SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
Each council is setting its own rules at the moment but most are allowing immediate family only. That includes mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children. In some families that might be only 2 mourners but in larger families that could be up to 25 people!!
A whole lot of wrangling is currently taking place about acceptable numbers behind the scenes. But in reality, I am finding that people don’t want to place themselves into the close contact space of a chapel. They don’t want to risk their own health or that of their family.
It is devastating to lose a family member but it is even more destructive not to be allowed to attend a funeral in its usual format. Ultimately though we have to keep ourselves safe.
WHAT DO WE NEED FROM A FUNERAL?
They explained that they wanted to be able to attend a ‘place’ as a focus, in this case it will be our local crematorium. They also wanted some words to be said to recognise their fathers life. Finally, they wanted to see his coffin go into the chapel.
But above all else, they wanted to stay safe…
HOW CAN WE ENSURE FAMILIES EMOTIONAL NEEDS ARE MET UNDER LOCKDOWN?
The primary reason for restricting numbers at service is to stop cross-contamination. That can occur between mourners, the deceased (unfortunately possible) and staff.
IS IT TIME TO START THINKING ‘OUTSIDE OF THE BOX’
Following a conversation with my family and the Funeral Directors we agreed on an alternative funeral …
The family chosen Processional music which began to play as the hearse arrived at the crematorium gates. The song continued as the hearse drives toward the chapel entrance.
The official pall-bearers opened the tailgate of the hearse (families are no longer recommended to do this). They then stepped back to a respectful distance to allow everyone to maintain social distancing.
I then conducted a brief service outside to include a favourite reading of their choice and the commital. The recessional music then played as the coffin as accompanied into the chapel by pall bearers alone. The family remained outside as the chapel doors closed behind the coffin.
Whilst this is in no way ‘normal’ or ‘ideal’ – the harsh truth is that these are unprecedented times.
THE PSYCHOLOGICAL NEED FOR A FUNERAL
As a celebrant I offer emotional support through the loss of your loved one. I know how much a service matters – how much it is needed. All celebrants must offer creative ideas and an alternative funeral to allow a family to say goodbye. And crucially whilst keeping themselves (and others) as safe as possible.
From a psychological perspective this will still offer a ‘place and time’ for grieving family to mark the occasion, say farewell and see the coffin leaving them.
I also am offering all of my clients a memorial service included in their package. This is streamed so that they can share it with all of their family and friends.
I have no doubt that many of my clients will also choose to book a ‘celebration of life’ for a future date. I really look forward to seeing them gather together in the summer with loved ones as they recall the memories of their loved ones in happier times.
If you would like any more details please contact me