I read this article from the Toronto Sun where Canadian funeral director Diane Moniz-Alves commented, “It has been quite traumatizing for families, not being able to have a proper funeral.” And, last Spring I attended as a member of our funeral home a “family only” committal service simply because I wanted to pay my respects to some of the children whom I had went to school with. Basically, I represented the entire community at the committal. . . . had their been a public service, hundreds of people would have been there. . . and I’m guessing the family missed that kinship.
The Toronto Sun article also states that for over a year restrictions on indoor gatherings has meant that funerals have been limited in size and scope. . . with Zoom calls standing in for family gatherings and community support.
Funeral Director Moniz-Alves also commented that “Now people have a second chance to do things their way. . . . they’re coming back and asking us to help them plan something after the fact.”
I find that interesting and I find it something that funeral homes may be able to help families have the service that they truly wanted and at the same time potentially profit from being that instigator of a 2nd service.
As Moniz-Alvez continued in the article, “Some wanted religious services, wanted friends to come, wanted pictures posted of their loved ones. So much was not allowed. . . .It was tough having to tell families, Sorry, there can be no musicians, no church, and we can’t have this or that because of the restrictions.”
As mentioned, I find the idea of a 2nd service interesting. On one hand, I believe because of the time that has passed since a death, the attendance would be less and less the farther you are out from that death date. That is something that I noticed even pre-Covid when memorial services were held longer and longer out from the date of death. . . and I would guess that situation to be the same in the Covid world.
On the other hand, I think many families would benefit from 2nd services once we are totally out of the social distancing issues. While the crowds might be smaller, as Moniz-Alvez contends in the article, at least families would be able to honor their loved one with favorite music, or grandchildren in attendance, or in some other way.
I think if I was operating a funeral home at this time I might put one of my staff members in charge of contacting families and bringing up this option. From a public relations point of view it would have to be done in the right way, but if it is, it may be able to continue to build your compassion brand and at the same time bring in some extra revenue.
More news from the world of Death Care:
- Families find longer wait times for grave monuments. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA)
- Tell Giselle: No need to fret on funeral decisions. Times Leader Media Services
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