5 free/inexpensive and easy ways to make lockdown funerals special

Ceri Tolley UK Celebrant - Funerals

Many of us struggle to know where to begin when organising a loved one’s funeral however for those who find themselves having to do so in lockdown, there is the added worry about what is and isn’t allowed.  Fear not!  Here are 5 easy and free ways to make your farewell even more special than ‘normal’.

  1. Live Streaming – Most crematorium chapels have inbuilt cameras and AV systems that enable live web casting of the funeral service.  Whilst most will charge for this, the main provider (Obitus) have reduced their charges significantly making this option affordable to most.  If you do not want to pay or do not have this option (perhaps you are holding your ceremony in a natural burial ground, for example) then why not use your phone/tablet?  So long as you have a signal then you can use 3/4G if there is no wi-fi available.  If there is no signal, perhaps record the service so that you can email pout to friends and family who cannot attend for them to view just after the service is over?  I would recommend that you use a tripod or other method of holding your device if filming it yourself.  Not only to save your arms aching…this is your opportunity to say goodbye to your loved one – don’t miss out on this because you are trying to film for others!
  2. ‘In The Round‘ – This works particularly well when there are less than 5 people in attendance as it enhances a small intimate event.  Rather than have your Celebrant stand at a lectern when there are only a few of you in the congregation, ask them to stand/sit on the same level as you.  Most crematoria have remote controls for the music systems so they can operate the AV from where they are.
  3. Tributes – Ask friends and family who are unable to attend in person to write a short tribute to the deceased.  This could include a favourite memory or the reason they met and became friends, why they loved the person who has passed etc.  This not only is a cathartic exercise for the person writing, it is a way for you to include them and for them to feel they are a part of the ceremony.  It is also really beautiful to hear personal stories and words of affection towards the person you have lost and makes the small number who are allowed to gather to feel very close.
  4.  Personal Tributes – Many people find standing in front of a large group of people (often many of whom you don’t not know very well/at all) too daunting and therefore miss out on the opportunity to read their own tributes/choice of poem for the person they have lost.  As those in the chapel during lockdown will be immediate family and very close friends of the family perhaps you could now summons up the courage to stand up and say something from your heart?  Personal readings make a the funeral service so much more personal and intimate and therefore special.  It need not be a long Eulogy, just a short paragraph or poem will often make you feel you have really made the service very special and you will be amazed how others will appreciate it.
  5. Memorial Picnic – Hopefully we can now see lockdown easing and it will be possible for larger wakes/receptions to happen again soon.  In the meantime however, consider holding a picnic in a nearby park or beauty spot.  Perhaps somewhere that holds special memories for/with the person whom you have lost.   Due to current restrictions everyone will bring their own refreshments to enjoy whilst sharing your memories and enjoying recollecting stories of the times you shared together.

Have you had to organise a funeral in lockdown or even attended one?  What ideas did you use?  What do you think would have made the service better?

Other News