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Funerals and Social Distancing May 13, 2020

Social Distance written in chalk

The COVID-19 pandemic has made many of life’s events much more challenging. Birthdays are being celebrated differently, weddings are being postponed and graduations are being cancelled or being held “virtually”. The pandemic is also having its effect on final services.

Losing a loved one at any time can be emotionally challenging. Having to prepare a funeral without having a group of family or friends to share intimately in your grief is even more difficult. The fact is, however, CDC guidelines have made large, traditional funerals unacceptable.

Families are looking for answers and options. Here is the reality of conducting final services during the coronavirus outbreak.

Conduct a small, private ceremony.

Some families who want to have a timely funeral and burial are choosing to conduct an intimate, private, immediate family-only service, minimizing attendance and using social distancing. In some cases, these ceremonies are just being held graveside.

Schedule a memorial service at a later date.

Those who have large families and a significant number of friends or co-workers are realizing they can schedule a larger ceremony or even a “celebration of life” at a later date. This can still allow the deceased to be remembered appropriately while keeping the health and safety of those who may wish to attend in mind. This also allows more time to prepare a suitable service.

Use streaming and other available technology.

While streaming final services isn’t new, the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly made it more acceptable and mainstream. Intimate, immediate-family services may be broadcast securely online. Condolences can be expressed online and donations to a favored cause can still be accepted. This also eliminates the stress and risks of travel for out of towners who may wish to otherwise attend. Multiple high-definition cameras can create a quality experience for those attending “virtually”.

Cremation may be a more viable option.

One of the advantages of cremation is that it can take off the pressure of having services immediately following the death of a loved one. The cremation itself can take place with a memorial service or celebration of life held at a later, safer time. The family can choose to have the ashes placed in a urn to be displayed at these final services. This allows a family some immediate private closure, without the pressure of planning services in these socially distant times.

It can be difficult to predict how many of the habits we are building in these time will become a permanent part of our future society. Will families and visitors still have a desire at least for some social distancing during funerals? It would be a shame if meaningful, heartfelt hugs and embraces became a less important part of final services.

Know, however, that the caring team of professionals at Fares J. Radel Homes has, and will continue to do what is best for the families we serve in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area. If you are faced with the challenges of arranging a funeral in this pandemic, please contact us and let’s discuss how we can best meet your needs and desires.

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