There wouldn’t be a single human on earth right now that hasn’t either been or is currently being affected by the corona virus.
It has forced such a sudden and ferocious shift in how we live our lives, that we are left in a state of confusion, anxiety, grief and fear.
There are also incredible acts of kindness taking place as well, I do want to point that out.

The media, both official as well as social, has flooded our screens with government decisions regarding rules around gatherings.
How close we can stand, who can we meet and where, and how many attendees are allowed at a funeral, should we need to hold one.
At this point, it sits at ten.

I just want to make clear, that I believe our best hope is to shut down as much as humanely possible to keep functioning, and to postpone all social gatherings until we’re safe and our parents and grandparents can one again, join us…

But I do completely understand, as a funeral celebrant, how devastating the idea of only being able to choose ten people must be for the family.
It must be like Sophie’s choice.

So with that in mind, I asked some of the best in the biz, as well as doing some online research and have in turn complied a list of suggestions for how to grieve the loss of your loved one in a time of lock-down.

1.   House Shrine

This doesn’t need to be religious if that’s not your thing.

But imagine the beautiful process of choosing a fantastic photo or photos; gathering some of their favourite things, adding some drawings, letters or poems… you could even light a candle (if you have one in stock!)

This could be done yourself or involve everyone in the house.
Make it a moment, that’s planned and created by all.
It could also be done by grieving friends living elsewhere.

There aren’t any rules on who can have a shrine are there?

2.    Online memorial book

Facebook comes to mind, but I’m sure there are other avenues for a place to hold an online memorial book.

This often happens quite naturally anyway, but you could make a statement to everyone connected and invite them to share stories, photos, video footage and anything else that comes to mind.

I guess it would be a virtual place to go…
This one came from the brilliant Kelly the Cele 

3.    Live streaming

Most funeral homes already have video equipment set up, and lets face it, it’s not hard to get someone filming on their smart phone these days…
Anyway, whether you send it out to the public, or only to a select few, this can all be easily arranged.
It means anyone who wants to to see the service as it happens; can.

You could even suggest what to wear for viewers if that would have been an element of the funeral.Kelly also suggests rather than a one-way stream, to have it more like a conference call where people’s reactions could also be heard. 

4. Online Watch party

Done in addition to a live streaming, or for something else altogether, you could show the slideshow usually put together by the family and set to  music as part of the service.
If you can’t show it to a live audience, why not organize a watch party where everyone sees it at the same time and has the ability to share responses and feelings as it plays.

Another idea for a watch party could be choose your person’s favourite film and get everyone to enjoy it together, as above.
What a great way to honour them as a larger community.

4.    Individually created memorial book

Zena suggests inviting all friends and family to put together a page each in your loved one’s honour.
They could draw something; write something – the skye’s the limit as long as it fits the dimensions of the planned book.
An excellent opportunity for others to work through their grief as well.
Contributors would then send you their pages.
Just imagine the cathartic process of receiving each entry and compiling the finished product.

5.    Place something in the window

It could be a candle, some flowers, a message… anything you like.
Sometimes it’s nice to let others know that you’re grieving…

6.    Necessities now, celebration later.

Everyone will understand that now isn’t the right time to hold the send-off that your person wanted, but there’s nothing wrong with using a different date.
Their birthday perhaps, or on the one year anniversary.
You could combine it with scattering of ashes if that’s appropriate.
Trust me, once this pandemic is over, people will be keen to come together; especially after mourning separately. 

7.    Create a new tradition!

How about a family dinner party that gets repeated every year?
You could even serve all of their favourite dishes and play their music.
That’s just a suggestion, the possibilities are endless.

It’s a decent list don’t you think?
As you can see, there are many alternatives to what we’re accustomed to.
But let’s face it, there’s not much going on right now that we ARE accustomed to.

For those reading this blog in years to come… this was written March 2020 when the entire world was turned completely upside down.

Only you can know how it all ends.

I’d like to finish with the words of my fabulous colleague Kate Morgan who pointed out that ‘the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in could even be an opportunity to free things up to honour your person, without feeling tied to traditions.’ 

I’d just like to add that funerals are often extremely rushed and force families into making a myriad of important decisions under the most stressful of circumstances.

This will give you time to plan the most perfect and fitting way to bid farewell.


This content was originally published here.