During the current coronavirus pandemic, many people have been left unsure of how to arrange a funeral for their loved ones, and of the rules on attendance. Here, we discuss how the UK’s lockdown restrictions are affecting funeral services and explore why we believe direct or “simple” cremations are the safest, most appropriate and cost-effective means of saying goodbye to a loved one.
What are the UK’s current lockdown restrictions?
At present, the UK is in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. The current lockdown conditions permit people to leave their homes if they are an essential worker, attaining food or for health reasons. For those the government has deemed especially vulnerable such as the elderly or medically impaired, even leaving the house for exercise is not permitted.
When should I social distance?
When leaving home for any of the reasons listed above, social distancing is to be enforced, a measure which requires we maintain a minimum distance of 2 meters from anyone who is not a member of our household. These restrictions have been implemented to help limit unnecessary contact and in turn reduce the spread of coronavirus. The restrictions are mandatory until May 7th, at which point the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent measures will be reviewed.
What are the current rules on arranging a funeral with family present?
Funerals can still be arranged and attended, although in recognition of COVID-19’s highly contagious nature, specific precautions and modifications have been implemented to help reduce transmission. In order to align with current lockdown restrictions, funeral arrangements must be made over the phone or online. The list of those able to attend the funeral service has also been limited to direct family members or those who lived with the deceased.
Social distancing throughout
When attending a funeral, social distancing must be maintained both throughout the service and during transport to and from it. Following discussions with Public Health England, faith leaders have also strongly advised that mourners not partake in any activities or rituals which may bring them into close contact with the body of the deceased during the funeral.
Can extended family and friends attend the funeral?
Whilst the loss of a loved one is an exceptionally distressing time for all bereaved friends and family, the number of mourners present at funeral services has had to be restricted to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus. When arranging a funeral, a suggestion might be to live-stream or record the service so that those who are unable to physically attend can still participate in the funeral and commemoration from afar. However, whilst this method offers the opportunity to honour and celebrate the deceased, for many it may lack the intimacy and support which the shared, communal grieving experienced at funeral services can provide.
Why is simple cremation our unequivocal preference?
We will collect the deceased and perform a dignified, unattended cremation. The ashes will then be returned to the deceased’s loved ones within three weeks, or scattered in the crematorium’s garden of remembrance at the request of the family. When mourners arrange a traditional funeral, choosing ceremonial extras might prove to be an unnecessary complication. This simple process aims to remove the stress of planning a funeral immediately whilst ensuring that the deceased is still sent off with the utmost care and respect.
Why simple cremation is safe and cost effective
Our direct cremation is priced transparently and at a fixed rate so that the process feels straightforward throughout. We made direct cremation feel intuitive and uncomplicated: a simple choice that enables the mourners’ time and energy to be primarily focused on dealing with other aspects of the departure of their loved one. With our fixed rate we are able to provide the deceased with a timely cremation whilst limiting social interaction and allowing for a greater period in which to arrange the funeral.
Should a funeral service or celebration of life ceremony take place after lockdown?
Everyone handles loss differently and so there is no right or definitive answer for the timeline of a commemoration process. However, for those who wish to be surrounded by loved ones during the funeral service and meet with relevant parties beforehand, (be it the funeral home, chaplain or best friend hoping to discuss anecdotes for a eulogy,) it may be preferable to postpone the funeral service until after the lockdown and social distancing have been lifted.
Time to process your loss
Arranging a simple cremation and delaying the funeral service until after lockdown not only ensures the deceased is sent off in a dignified manner, it also allows mourners time to begin processing their loss before coming together to celebrate the life of the deceased. Those organising the funeral may do so at a time when they are less impacted by their grief and instead creatively plan the funeral when they might take comfort or even find pleasure in the process.
During the current pandemic, it may not only be suitable but also preferable to postpone the funeral. Be sure to allow yourself adequate time to arrange a service so that it best suits and celebrates the life of the person you loved.