Here’s what a funeral director wants you to know during Covid-19

funerals | covid-19 | coronavirus | modern funerals

We’ve been actively working to find new ways to support our clients during Covid-19, and are taking inspiration from your generosity, fortitude and care. Social distancing has been especially hard for people who are grieving, and so has the uncertainty surrounding official guidance about funerals. We’re here to explain exactly what’s happening and the steps we’re taking to help.  

Planning meaningful funerals in a changing situation

One of the main challenges that we’re facing is the changing restrictions on what a funeral can look like. Every day, we’re responding to new rules issued by crematoria, hospitals and the church as well as updates to the official guidelines. There are questions like how many people can attend a funeral, how they can act once they get there and even whether it’s safe to sing. 

Our priorities are balancing a total commitment to safety with the excellence and flexibility of our services. We believe that funerals continue to give comfort to people who want to hold ceremonies and are doing everything in our power to help plan meaningful rituals — either in person, online, or through a combination of both.

We’re holding daily meetings to explore these questions as a team and talk through ideas about how to respond. If people aren’t able to attend the funeral, there are options like live streaming, organising an online service or holding a memorial at a later date. 

We’ve had a family read the names of people who wanted to be there, and people who’ve sent messages to place in the coffin. Even if you can’t physically be there, we’re committed to finding ways to help you say goodbye.

Why a safe and flexible approach is so important 

As circumstances change, we’re keeping hold of our core belief that every funeral is just as unique as the person that it’s for. That means approaching every funeral on a case-by-case basis, in terms of what’s both safe and possible. No matter the situation, we’re going to do everything we can to plan a funeral that’s meaningful for you. 

We’ve also put lots of thought into how we respond to new restrictions, which can vary as crematoria and places of worship interpret official guidance differently. It’s important to advocate for our clients by asking sensible questions about whether some restrictions are effective. In most cases, a logical flexible approach is the best way of making sure that risks are minimised. 

For example, we might ask a crematorium why they’re not letting family members carry a coffin even though they’re all living in the same household — and the professional bearers who would replace them are coming from different places. We never rush any decision and always work closely with places of worship and crematoria to make sure that everyone is kept safe. 

Now is the time to stretch our ideas 

Right now, the funeral sector is dealing with a lot of uncertainty and that isn’t easy. But, as funeral directors, we need to confront that discomfort so we can still do our job. It’s important to ask hard questions about how to protect people’s health while also safeguarding their right to a meaningful funeral.

We chose this job to support people in times of difficulty and are bringing all of our flexibility, innovation and thoughtfulness to this new challenge. Across the funeral sector, it’s time to stretch our ideas about what a funeral can look like and what rituals can help bring people comfort.  

While this is challenging, we also wanted to share the incredible outpouring of warmth and kindness that we’ve seen during Covid-19. Although funeral plans have had to change, friends and families are still coming up with ways to show extraordinary tenderness and care — which is one reassuring constant in a time of change.   

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