Covid 19 has dramatically changed the face of the traditional funeral many of us have associated with the passing of a loved one. Is there light at the end of the tunnel or are funerals changed dramatically forever.
Viewing the body of a family member in the undertakers chapel of rest – having the body at home the night before the funeral, large numbers gathering together to pay respect surrounded by flowers and pall bearers has all stopped at the moment due to the current worldwide pandemic.
Quite rightly so in the current situation – we all need to do our best to stop the spread of this killer disease and here at Celamony we have seen at first hand how this is impacting on funerals. Dramatically reduced numbers, direct unattended cremations and graveside burials limited to a tiny number of immediate family members with the coffin in the grave even before the family arrive.
At first this may seem very distressing for the family, feeling short changed and hard done too not giving their loved one the send-off they wanted or deserved. Nobody at the chapel, nobody at the gathering afterwards, nobody has really heard the life story of the family member so dear to the families heart and now no longer present. This has been our experience of the immediate impact of Covid – 19 and funerals taking place across the UK at the moment.
At Celamony we are in regular contact with other celebrants around the country. They tell us the same thing. A nationwide feeling family members are almost as upset at not being able to have the traditional funeral they had always wanted as the loss and grief they feel at the passing of the loved one. They express feelings of guilt they couldn’t do what traditionally they felt was right.
Well is this such a bad thing or is the world of funerals changing forever?
The answer quite simply is yes.
Since David Bowie opted for his no fuss funeral noise has started to increase in the funeral world that simple no fuss funerals may be the way forward. On a very practical note. The first thing is the cost of direct unattended funerals are falling dramatically in stark comparison with traditional funerals. Research has suggested that in 2019 the cost of direct cremations fell by 7% whereas more formal old-style funeral prices increased by 5%. Direct unattended funerals are presently being advertised for as little as £450.00.
But what is a direct unattended funeral. What are the attractions and downsides?
A direct cremation is a simple cremation without a funeral service.
An affordable, dignified disposal of the body that is fuss free saving money on funeral costs. A direct cremation is usually unattended however the ashes are returned to family so they can say goodbye in a more relaxing environment.
This might at first seem disrespectful uncaring or unloving to many, but it is not.
A direct cremation still offers total respect, care and dignity for your loved one. The deceased will still be collected by the company arranging the direct funeral taken back to their premises and cared for until the time of the cremation. The service provider, still traditional a funeral director, and their business completes the paperwork legally required for a UK cremation
The deceased is placed in a simple coffin and transported to the crematorium
Cremation takes place at a date and time chosen by the company.
Much of this service is now conducted over the internet and with the increased use of technology with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Facetime and WhatsApp video conferencing this is becoming more commonplace each day.
As a result of Covid 19 is this likely to remain once the pandemic is over. Well we think so because the driving factor of cost is a major consideration and at first glance this will be important.
But what are the downsides – well obviously in an unattended funeral the family are not present and this may not be attractive to everyone – so here at Celamony once the rules are relaxed we think we will see a marked increase in the number of small family intimate funerals. These are the same as direct unattended funerals but allow a small number of immediate family to attend. This simple cremation or indeed burial costs are significantly less than a traditional funeral. You are not paying for a hearse or pallbearers, but the body will still be transported in a dignified way.
It gives you the chance to arrange a dignified and respectful funeral and – allowing you the opportunity to hold a memorial with a larger attendance later.
You can commemorate your loved one’s life in a way that suits you and your family not limited to a 30-minute cremation booking.
Whilst on the day of the actual cremation the closest and most intimate family members will be in attendance you will still be allowed a choice of music and an intimate moment of reflection as a family.
Then you are at liberty to arrange the memorial celebration of life at a later and more convenient date. Your reflection of your loved one life will not be clouded by the immediate grief which surrounds death.
You will not be forced to have the reception at a certain time because this must follow the time of cremation or burial. It can be at a time and date of your choice taking as long or as short as you want. It allows many more people to come and properly reflect on the loved one’s life.
Giving people time to make plans to attend a celebration of life really does mean more people can and will come to show proper and dignified respect to your family member. No more “sorry I couldn’t make it, I had a meeting at work I just couldn’t get out of” or “I’m only hear for the service I’ve got to get back after please give my regards to the family”
At Celamony we are here to help you with all the celebration of life you want.
We can create and deliver the perfect tribute to your loved one taking as much time as you want telling everyone about your special family member – their life, works, hobbies, funny stories, particular special moments can be described and elaborated on. Again, with the use of technology your memorial tribute can be streamed to anyone who for whatever reason could not be present. You have much more freedom to do exactly as you wish to properly reflect on the life passed. Overseas relatives can now be included even giving live streamed memories themselves.
If you use our eulogy tribute writing service and plan the funeral before the immediacy of death, we can incorporate your loved ones very own wishes and desires into the celebration. Their special videos and music can also be incorporated.
As such whilst the direct funeral or intimate cremation might at first seem cold and unfeeling, once you look at all the benefits at Celamony we believe there will be a marked increase in the use of this type of funeral and celebration in the months and years to come.
Reduced costs but still professional dignity and respect and a free celebration with happiness celebrating the true spirit of your loved one’s life
Contact us to discuss how we can help in any way.