The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting our lives and our deaths. Families are having to make choices about funerals they haven’t faced before.
How funeral services will be held — and even if they will be held — continues to challenge grieving families and funeral directors as we all adhere to physical distancing rules announced by the Australian government to reduce the spread of the of Covid-19.
Funerals are now limited to 10 people
At the time of publishing this blog, the Australian government advisory note to funeral directors (25 March 2020) requires that all funerals must be limited to no more than 10 people. The 4 square metre rule and social distancing must be observed.
Why limit the number of people at a funeral?
According the Australian government advice, funerals are like any public gathering, where there is potential for the transmission of the Covid-19 virus between those attending a funeral, and those who are, or are likely to have been contacts of patients with COVID-19.
This doesn’t mean we can’t grieve. It doesn’t mean we can’t honour the memory of someone we loved. It doesn’t mean that we can’t connect and share our grief with our families and friends. Yes, it does mean we aren’t going to have the comfort of that in-person hug, and the wake afterwards, and that can be the hardest part.
What are funeral directors doing?
Funeral directors have been advised to consider delaying the service so that family members or critical attendees who require quarantine or isolation for COVID-19 can attend.
To minimise transmission of COVID-19, funeral directors must comply with Australian Government and State or Territory public health direction on public gatherings, and should consider the type and size of the gathering. For example, attendance may be restricted to close family and friends, the gathering may be held in an open-air venue instead of an enclosed space, or alternative ways to conduct services may be considered such as via video link.
How our member Funeral Directors can help?
Our member Funeral Directors are feeling deep concern for bereaved families and are totally committed to supporting them as best they can in this unprecedented time.
They continue to provide professional, caring and essential services to clients over the phone, share documents online, provide death certificates, deal with remains and support families in their time of grief.
Here are some of the things our member funeral directors are currently employing to make it safer for families to mourn and grieve at this difficult time.
Live streaming funerals so people can attend remotely
One option our member funeral directors offer families right now is streaming live video of the funeral online. This is a flexible solution that allows you to have the closest immediate family members at the funeral service in person, if you wish, while other people participate from home.
If you’re planning on offering remote access to the funeral, our member funeral directors can help you note in the obituary how family and friends can get that access.
Filming the service
One way to share the service with extended family members and friends is the have the service filmed. For example, Chapter House Funerals, Victoria are offering all family services to be filmed as part of the service fee. The service will be available by a secure link within 2 hours after the service, allowing families and friends to say their goodbyes. This link can be forwarded to share with extended family and friends unable to attend the service in person.
Holding dual services
Although funerals are limited to only 10 people, some Funeral Directors are going above and beyond to enable more than ten family members and friends to say their farewell. Funeral Directors such as Chapter House Funerals, Victoria are offering all families a dual service at no extra cost, subject to availability. Between services, Chapter House arranges a 20-minute break to enable the cleaning of their Kew chapel in preparation for the second service.
Postponing services until later
For some families, the right decision will be to plan a memorial service for a later date. You can do this whether you plan to have the body cremated or buried. If you’re planning on burial, you might choose to have a small, private graveside service at the time of burial, with just your closest family members in attendance. Then you can plan a larger public memorial service for later, when it’s safer to gather publicly.
For a cremation, you can have a small, private family gathering at the crematorium or funeral home if you wish, or you can skip that step and simply plan for a later memorial service. You might like to have the ashes displayed in an urn at the service.
Don’t Skip the funeral entirely
Funerals play an important role in society to memorialise someone who has died and give the living the chance to face the reality of loss. Funerals help us say goodbye and give us the chance to gather together with others who are experiencing similar feelings. Whichever option is best for your family, experts on grief and mourning say that it’s important for the surviving loved ones to hold some sort of grieving ritual, rather than avoiding a funeral completely.
Contact a funeral director that’s right for you
eziFunerals has partnered with some of the best family owned and independent funeral directors who are here to help you and your family before, during and after their time of need.
They are not controlled by shareholders and are much more preferable when compared to the large funeral brands owned by the big funeral chains.
We work together to ensure that you and your family receive transparent information and the best possible standard of service at fair and realistic cost.
eziFunerals supports individuals and families cope with end of life decisions, death and funerals. We are an independent, Australian-owned and operated company, and are not a subsidiary of any other corporation. We are not part of any other funeral company. For more information or to make contact with a trusted Independent funeral director, call eziFunerals on 1300 236 402 or visit www.ezifunerals.com.au