Planning a funeral during a pandemic
In recent weeks, the new coronavirus has changed many aspects of life in the United States and around the world, as people work to avoid spreading COVID-19. Social distancing has become an important step, which means, among other things, staying at home as much as possible and keeping at least six feet away from others in public.
Unfortunately, even saying goodbye to a loved one has been affected, as holding large memorial services for those who pass away during this time is not an option. And, due to the developing nature of the world’s understanding of COVID-19, no one knows how long it will be until social distancing measures can be lifted.
However, these safety measures don’t mean you can’t have a service. Because a funeral offers closure and allows the grieving process to begin, it’s important to understand how it can be held during a pandemic in a way that honors the memory of the loved one while keeping family members and friends safe.
Here are a few options that will help you plan a funeral.
Private viewings and social distance services
When you want to have a viewing, visitations can be set up for a private experience that limits the number of people and allows those closest to the deceased to safely come together.
Additionally, a funeral home can take into account social distancing during viewings and other services — limited to 10, per government guidelines for gatherings — by setting up clusters of chairs at a distance from each other so that family groups can be seated at least six feet apart.
At Croxford Funeral Home & Crematory, funeral services can be livestreamed, so anyone you invite can watch from home.
“We’re limited to 10 guests,” says administrative assistant Bette Miller. “But we’re doing the livestreaming so that families can attend online.”
While there is normally a fee for livestreaming, the funeral home is offering the service for free to help families whose loved ones die during this difficult time. And accessing the livestream is simple, so you can share it with anyone who has a device that connects to the internet.
“You go to our website and click on the obituary,” Miller says. “Then there’s a link, and you can go right into the service.”
An added benefit is, after the service is over, the video is loaded to Croxford Funeral Home’s website, so those who aren’t available at the time of the service can watch later.
People who are not at the service can still participate by sharing funny anecdotes and touching stories to honor the deceased. They simply need to make a phone call.
“Rather than passing a microphone around like we might do at a traditional service, family members can call in and share their memories,” Miller says.
Graveside video recording
In addition to the funeral, family and friends may want to watch the graveside service from home. While it cannot be livestreamed, it can be recorded. Then, the funeral home will add the video to its website, and loved ones can say a final goodbye from home.
For more information about funeral planning or to get help with an upcoming service, visit Croxford Funeral Home & Crematory online or call 406-453-0315.
1307 Central Ave
Great Falls, MT 59401
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