COVID-19 & funerals

When the country is in lockdown and the rules are no longer the same, what do you do?  That was the dilemma I faced as I prepared a celebration of life ceremony this week.  An elderly gentleman had died peacefully after a long and happy life, not from corona virus.  A celebration of life service was requested by his family.  As the country deals with COVID-19 as well as all the other deaths, the allotted time for a funeral is now a mere 15 minutes .  How can we celebrate the life of a loved one in such limited terms!

There’s always a solution

Finding a solution is what I do and I was pretty sure as to what was needed!  Since March 14th, when Spain went into lockdown, I had discovered the joys of Zoom and internet conferences!  It occurred to me in a flash that Zoom was the answer!  The potential was great and I was convinced this approach could save the family heartache.  And that is exactly what happened.

First online funeral!

The family believed they wouldn’t be able to hold a funeral service because of the Corona virus so were extremely grateful when I suggested a virtual ceremony.  Thus family and cousins around the world were called and gathered together in a WhatsApp group the day before and grieving began.  During this time, photos and stories were shared and everyone enjoyed remembering good times and good things about the deceased.  As I was included in this group, I took the opportunity to advise everyone as to how it would work.  Fore armed and fore warned, the family tested the link and were all set to attend the funeral the following day.

Collaboration and ceremony

As a funeral celebrant, I am blessed to have an excellent working relationship with the EFM funeral company.  Staff at the Bon Sosec agreed to advise when the incineration process was about to begin so we were synchronised.  Starting our ceremony 30 minutes before the committal, those on duty at the crematorium were as good as their word.  Advising me they were on time, the family and I were then able to connect with hearts and internet and say a final goodbye.


Once the ceremony was over and after a few more words, it was time for me to leave – I planned on making myself a cup of tea!  The family stayed online and chatted for another hour or so and I busied myself at home.  The advantage of using Zoom is that I can allocate the role of host to someone else and easily withdraw.

This statement from one of the aunts in the UK sums it up nicely: What a lovely service and much nicer than being at a crematorium!