By Nick & Jacqui Taimitarha, White Rose Modern Funerals
Nothing could have prepared us, as modern funeral directors, for the baptism of fire that became Covid 19. Regulations changed almost daily as we managed a dramatically higher death toll.
Thankfully, as we write, we are back to normalised times with the numbers of funerals we manage.
For families, facing the overwhelming emotions at the death of a family member, whilst largely in isolation, it was beyond tough. There was a lot of media coverage about the limitations of funerals – only a handful of people allowed to attend with austere restrictions. For ourselves, it was looking at how to adapt a service for a family, so a small gathering did not mean their farewell was going to be any less meaningful.
Ideas evolved, in particular looking at how to connect the friends and family members unable to attend. For some families, we organised travelling to the funeral so neighbours, friends and family could gather along the route on the way – safely socially distanced. There were some beautiful poignant scenes that helped the family to feel supported.
Live webcasting and video was used regularly so friends and family in isolation could watch the service. Personal video messages or voice recordings were played. Often, with just a handful of close family attending, family members felt no need for a traditional eulogy, instead they wrote their own personal letter tributes.
The ever-helpful Reverend Joe Moffatt in Teddington, offered private video call blessings to isolated family members who needed to feel their church connection around the time of the funeral.
There was a most touching scene at a natural burial, where a family meeting for the first time in 2 months, used a length of ribbon they could each hold, 2 metres apart, so they could all feel connected as they stood around their mother’s grave.
Contrary to the negative press that families were unable to have a dignified farewell, many families we worked with commented how they preferred not having the stress of a large crowd of people behind them and appreciated the intimacy. They felt they were able to express feelings more freely and say farewell in a more personal way.
There are many traditions associated with funerals, but the reality is there is no right or wrong way to hold a funeral. What matters is that the time saying farewell is meaningful to you as a family, no matter how simple or elaborate.
Should you experience the death of a loved one and need guidance, please just call us. We’re an independent husband and wife team, based in Teddington, covering SW London and Surrey here to help you.
Telephone: 020 3281 1045 available 24/7