What can I do to share the service with others who cannot attend because of coronavirus?
During a time of bereavement many people want to be comforted by family and friends, so it may be very distressing not to be able to have everyone around you due to all the restrictions. It may feel particularly isolating attending the service on your own/with few others, especially if you know lots of people would ordinarily have been present. Not being a part of it may also be very difficult for those who cannot attend – this section suggests ways you can both feel more connected.
Share the funeral details – tell anyone who would ordinarily have attended the date, time and place. This will enable them to mark the time in their own way wherever they are, which may help them in their grief and, knowing they are doing so, could be of comfort to you. You could also tell them of any music or readings you have chosen so they can try accessing them at home.
Webcasting - find out if it’s possible to ‘webcast’ the service. It would be filmed and you would be able to provide login details to others so they could watch it live online or for a limited period of time after the service. Ask your funeral director, minister/celebrant or crematorium if they can help with this. Be aware that crematoriums often charge a fee for this, though some may waive this in the current circumstances.
Due to the increase in the use of webcasting some problems with live streaming are being reported and with delays to videos being uploaded – it may be best to check the current situation with your chosen crematorium to avoid distress on the day.
Live video call and streaming– if webcasting isn’t available perhaps someone can ‘stream’ it live on their phone or iPad/tablet, for example by using a video call on WhatsApp, FaceTime, Skype or Zoom.
You could alternively consider setting up a live stream through Facebook.
Personal video – if the wifi connection isn’t good enough for a live video call, consider filming it on your phone or video recorder to send to people later. Ask the funeral director if they can do this so you can be fully present during the service. Check how much storage space you have left on your phone beforehand as videos use up quite a lot of space – you may have to delete some data, like photos, or transfer them to another device.
Voice call or audio recording – we can’t account for how good the sound quality would be, but if no video options are possible, you could try making a phone call to someone and simply placing the phone as close as possible to where the minister/celebrant or family/friends will be speaking at the start of the service. Or try using a voice recorder app to record the service or individual eulogies and readings that are given. Again, check your storage space.
Connect with others – after the service, consider contacting people who haven’t been able to attend so you can share the experience and both discuss memories of the person who has died. It may be difficult emotionally to speak to lots of people so you could also use email for those who have access to it, including sharing the eulogies and readings that were given. You could also share photos of the person who has died.
If you would normally be arranging the service and would have asked everyone to dress in a particular way – some people choose for mourners to wear colour, possibly the deceased’s favourite one, instead of black – you could still ask everyone to do this regardless of whether they can attend, as a way of connecting to each other on the day.
Order of service – these are not a requirement and do incur an extra cost, but if you choose to have them you could send copies to people who weren’t able to attend. In the current climate, it is best to avoid going to a shop to buy stamps where possible, so see if you can get a copy that could be emailed or use Royal Mail online postage if you have a printer. If you want to have orders of service and need to keep costs down, consider whether it could just be a sheet of A4 rather than a booklet, or design and print them at home if you’re able.
Even if you do have a small service now, there are no rules on when a memorial service can be held – this could happen at any point in the future, when restrictions have been lifted and could be a way for everyone to come together and share their memories. It may even feel more fitting to you to remember them at a more positive time.