Some Services Have Been Postponed
Because the size of funerals were so restricted during the pandemic, many people who lost loved ones decided to postpone funeral or memorial services. You may expect to attend funerals in the coming months for people who passed away anywhere between March 2020 and present day. Some people will have had more time to plan the service and grieve, while others may still be experiencing the pain of a recent loss. It’s important to know beforehand the date of a person’s passing, as you’ll be able to adjust your expectations and adjust how you may be of service to others accordingly. Many families and friendship groups will be gathering in-person for the first time to celebrate the life of their loved one, so it’s understandable to experience the mixed emotions of the joy of reunion and the sadness of loss.
Expect to Grieve Differently
The entire world collectively experienced a traumatic event in 2020. As time goes on and the world begins to open up again, people are going to begin to process their trauma and grief. Many people will be grieving the life they had before the shutdown, while others will be grieving the people they lost to the virus. Regardless of where you are on that spectrum, you can expect grief to feel different than it might have before. Many people may have a delayed response to their grief for months, maybe even years, as they adjust to the “new normal”. Others may feel suddenly overwhelmed with sadness, triggered by the smallest thing into a wave of feeling. Still, others may feel a sense of near mellowness, slowly letting the feeling pass through like water through a sieve. With all of these feelings still existing in us post-lockdown, you can expect the mood at a funeral to be different than it might have been before 2020. Your grief journey might even surprise you. Just make sure you’re paying attention to yourself and others.
Respect People’s Boundaries
While funeral and memorial services are places for sharing intimate moments with loved ones, make sure you’re checking in with people before you assume what their boundaries are. Remember: we were inside for more than a year. When we were out in public, we were physically distanced from each other. Go out of your way and ask people if they would like to be hugged before you dive in. Also, don’t be afraid to make your own boundaries apparent. If you aren’t comfortable hugging or shaking hands at a funeral, state that simply. People will understand. Also, be aware of spacing in general. If someone has placed themselves a physical distance away from you and others during the ceremony, it would be safe to assume that they would prefer their own space. You can be welcoming and extend an invitation for them to join you and others, but be respectful of their wishes if they decline.
Check In With Yourself
Funerals are not often easy. With the added weight of covid-19 and living in a post-covid world, funerals certainly aren’t any easier. That’s why it’s important to check in with yourself. If you’re feeling overwhelmed being in a crowd of people after a year of isolation, take a break. Go outside, get some air. Don’t be afraid to communicate that feeling with others — after all, they went through 2020, as well. No one had the exact same pandemic experiences, but we can all sympathize with one another. Pay attention to your own feelings and emotions. Allow yourself patience and the grace to experience whatever you’re feeling, without judgement or shame. There’s no such thing as “returning to normalcy”; we can only adjust and continue to live in a new type of normal.
We hope that this has helped you consider what you might expect for post-covid-19 funerals. The grief journey is rarely a straight path, so be sure to be gentle with yourself as you navigate through our “new normal.” Know that you are not alone in whatever you’re feeling and experiencing. Be kind to yourself, be compassionate with others, and move forward graciously into this new world with a sense of peace.
We want to help you make the best decisions for you and your family to celebrate the memory of a life lived. If you have any questions about our cemetery, funeral home or cremation services, please contact us.