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Covid-19 Virtual Funerals

While we are currently in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, how funerals are conducted has changed in order to conform with various restrictions imposed by governing bodies. The Center for Disease Control & Prevention states that virtual funerals offer the lowest risk of transmission of Covid-19. In a lot of cases, when funeral attendance is limited due to Covid-19 restrictions, an alternative to attending in-person is a virtual funeral where attendees can watch the funeral online. This is not new and not entirely due to Covid-19. This has been an option for quite a while, though not as widely available as it is now. With the world getting smaller due to the ease of international travel and the probability of people moving far away from home increasing, the need for online streaming of events has climbed exponentially. 

Why are Virtual Funerals Important?

Virtual funerals are important in order to help people ‘virtually’ attend a funeral. Attendance at a funeral is a significant part of the grieving process and helps people say their final goodbye while surrounded by others sharing the same emotions. When one cannot attend a funeral, it deprives them the opportunity to take that step in dealing with their grief. 

With the occurrence of Covid-19, the necessity for the option of virtual attendance has been made even more clear. Fear of the transmission of infection in addition to imposed restrictions, has prevented people from attending funerals and even hospitals to visit dying loved ones. 

couple watching a virtual funeral on a computer

What is required to stream a virtual funeral?

The option of a virtual funeral depends on the location where the funeral is held and whether they have set up an internet connection and the hardware to stream it. High quality streaming of a funeral will have audio connections in addition to visual. The widespread access to the internet and streaming devices has made the implementation simpler and more worthwhile. 

What complications are associated with virtual funerals?

Difficulties associated with virtual funerals include the use of multiple locations and travel between them. As an example, a funeral home may have an internet connection and associated hardware but the cemetery will most likely not. Mobile streaming devices may not have a sufficient signal to supply a continuous stream of the funeral service while in a remote location. 

What can be done when streaming is not an option?

When complications prevent streaming of a funeral, an alternative is to have a filmographer record the event and post it online following the event. It may not be ideal, but will certainly help the attendee feel like they experienced the event. To many people, filming a funeral service may seem odd, but for those who cannot attend, it could be very helpful in their healing process. 

How to improve the online attendance experience

Although online attendance is an excellent alternative, it is not as immersive as the funeral itself. In order to help the attendees feel a more fulfilled experience, there are a few things you can do to help improve the experience and make the funeral more personalised:

  1. You can create a virtual memorial book that attendees can sign, leave a message or tell a story about the deceased.
  2. Attendees could record short messages to the family and other attendees allowing them to have a virtual conversation.
  3. For services that usually require the attendees to read prayers, sing songs or make tributes about the deceased, these can still be done either live online or pre-recorded and played at the service.
  4. A slideshow of images can be played to the attendees both online and in-person.
  5. Requesting prayer responses or contributions to singing hymns helps online attendees to feel a part of the service.

reading a prayer at virtual funeral

Actions to help deal with the loss of a loved one during Covid-19

The grieving process relies heavily on communication with others. The Covid-19 pandemic has made this much more difficult, especially for those living alone. In order to help with grieving during Covid-19 restrictions, here are some steps you can take:

  1. Call friends & family members frequently and stay connected. Conference calls allow various people to share stories and can be excellent in bringing up fond memories and feelings of happiness.
  2. Making your own memorial to the deceased such as planting a tree or flower will give you something to refer to in their absence.
  3. Spiritual support is important for spiritual people and grief support is commonly available and usually easily accessible.
  4. Learn about dealing with grief by talking to a funeral director, reading a book or instructional videos. Sometimes all we need is to be pointed in the right direction.
  5. Create a diary and write to the deceased about times you shared and new experiences you have had.

conference call with family

Is There Help for Arranging a Virtual Funeral?

Yes. We, like any funeral director should, strive to remove as much of the burden as possible in organizing a funeral. We will do all we can to help you arrange a funeral the way you want it. With decades of experience in funeral services, we can help you personalise each funeral to be the experience you imagine it should be.

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