The way we socialise and get together with our families and friends is changing. When it comes to saying goodbye to our loved ones, the number that can gather together will be much smaller. Our wider circle of family and friends will still wish to pay their respects and you can make it easier for people who don’t attend a funeral to still feel involved and to be part of the celebration of life.
People are still adapting to what is happening across the world and the things that come naturally, such as shaking hands, hugging and greeting the people we are close to can affect our ability to stay well and to avoid becoming poorly. It feels strange to ask family members to leave two metres space between one another at the service, but these recommendations are wise, for all our sakes.
When someone passes, you can share the news via an obituary in a newspaper or online and to let everyone know that the funeral gathering will be a little different. You can also let people know what to expect with guidance included in the order of service booklet. This can help at a time of uncertainty and to set the right tone.
We can help you find the right words; and for anyone that is unable to pay tribute in person, a few extra printed copies of the Order of Service is a good way of involving those who aren’t able to attend.
If you’re writing an obituary, these suggestions may help:
• [insert name] would like to thank you for your kind thoughts at this difficult time following the loss of [insert name]. If you are attending the ceremony we would ask that you please refrain from hugging and shaking hands, as a simple smile and a nod of sympathy will be appreciated instead.
• To avoid a large social gathering, we request that only immediate family / close friends attend the funeral service, as your health and wellbeing matters to us. We will have copies of the order of service available at a later date if you would like to remember [insert name] in this way. If you would like to raise a toast to [insert name] during the time of the service, we would appreciate it very much.
• As some of us are in self-isolation and others must avoid social gatherings, we understand that not everyone who would like to attend the service for [insert name] will be able to join us. We would like to thank you for your kind messages of support/thoughts/prayers during this time and we ask that you remain safe at home.
If a eulogy is being shared at the funeral, why not ask for it to be included in the Order of Service, so that those who are unable to pay their respects in person can feel involved when they receive a copy of the booklet at a later moment? The inclusion of photographs can also make the Order of Service a more personal keepsake, particularly for those who can’t be there.
What comes naturally in displays of affection and respect are the things we may miss the most. But letting everyone know how to adapt will help to remove any fears or worry in advance. Staying safe is important and we hope these suggestions are helpful at your time of loss.