While the world is trying to figure out the new norm with Coronavirus health precautions and social distancing, many will be faced with the sad reality of making funeral arrangements after a relative or dear friend has passed away. I was recently talking by phone with a friend of mine who is the Funeral Director of a local funeral home and she shared with me the magnitude of changes that have come quickly to the funeral home industry.
Effective March 21, 2020, at 9PM Governor Murphy gave an executive order prohibiting all gatherings of individuals, such as parties, celebrations, or other social events, unless otherwise authorized by Executive Order 107. This carries over to public funeral gatherings, viewings or ceremonies in any funeral home, place of worship, cemetery or crematory. Many funeral homes are only allowing immediate family or legal next-of-kin to privately identify, participate in a non-public viewing and/or brief service and cemeteries are enforcing their own policies regarding burials.
Understanding the emotional turmoil these policies evoke, funeral homes are assisting grieving families and friends to find non-traditional ways to bring closeness and healing with virtual memorial services and funerals to collectively honor, remember and celebrate their loved one’s life and yet stay safe at a distance. Virtual live-stream funeral webcasts can be done through dedicated online services such as OneRoom.com and some funeral homes are setting up the technology to webcast the service.
Funeral Directors can also provide guidance and support while delaying a future service, helping the family use the time to plan and prepare for the best memorial service possible. This time can be used for gathering special photographs, selecting favorite songs and capturing poignant stories. It will mean changing our perspective on funerals and memorial services and view the time as an opportunity to put great thought and meaning into the preparation of celebrating the life of a loved one. Funeral homes of integrity will stay in touch with families and when the pandemic has passed and the governor’s executive order has been lifted, they will help families create a meaningful ceremony with invitations to family and friends to gather together in one place.
Fendrick Morgan, LLC, is an estate planning, estate administration, and elder law firm. We are here to help in these difficult times in any way we can. If you think we could be of assistance to you, or to a friend or loved one, please call us at 856-489-8388 or learn more about us or submit questions here.