Because of the social distancing restrictions due to the Corona virus, online funeral services have changed the way we cope with death.
“ It is not the preference of many of the families we serve, but virtual funeral services have been a comforting alternative. We are having to learn a different way to cope and grieve together and ultimately connect in a way that only your family can.” Carver says, “A generation ago, it would have not been possible, but we are blessed to live in a day when technology and conferencing applications are readily available to us”, Tyler Carver says, co-owner of Lighthouse Funeral and Cremation of Amarillo, Texas.
Some three years before COVID-19, Lighthouse Funeral was one of the first funeral homes in Amarillo to introduce internet web streaming funeral services in 2017, utilizing Zoom and Skype technology to bring families together from all parts of the country. If any family members, for example, those serving abroad in the military, that could not make a long distance trip to be at the funeral service, a online service would be arranged free of charge.
“I would not have imagined back then, what an impact the virtual funeral service would be, when this worldwide pandemic hit our community and impacted the families we serve” said Carver. “The need to introduce virtual funeral services or watching a graveside ceremony from home, has increased dramatically,” he says. Yet, we have been able to easily tailor different Zoom meetings to specific groups (such as extended family and co-workers.) Even if we are miles apart, to be able to see their faces and hear the voices of their family has been comforting to them.”
Ken Branum, local Chaplain and Hospice caregiver, shares that his experience with online services these last few months, has been a blessing to many families he serves.
“In times past, when families could meet together and support one another, there is always a special spirit of comfort when families can be together, but now with having to meet apart, that spirit of peace and comfort is still there. I’m grateful to the folks with this technology that are making the effort to salute our veterans and honor our loved ones with online funeral services that can bring families together.” Branum said. “ This may very well be the future standard for family members, that can’t make the long trip to attend”.
Grieving without the Embrace
In a recent interview with CNN, David Kessler grief expert and co-author of the book “On Grief and Grieving”, with renowned bereavement expert Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, said “There’s something about the rituals being done the right way,”
He acknowledged that virtual funerals “may feel wrong, impersonal, or sacrilegious. But what’s worse is people’s grief not being witnessed.” Although nothing can replace the hugging, embracing and direct human experience of an in-person service, virtual services are still real and can incorporate most of the main elements you’d expect in a traditional service. Videoconferencing can often accommodate a clergy to speak, offer music, and opportunities to play videos.
With more grief around the world and fewer ways to express or process it with others, and regardless of your circumstance, his primary advice is to “allow yourself to feel your feelings.” Kessler said. “If you experience a loss, You have to feel your grief in real time.”
If you know of any families in need that would like to know more about our free online funeral services, please contact us at Lighthouse Funerals 806-418-6509, go to our website or Like us on Facebook, Lighthouse Funerals of Amarillo.
Stay safe, stay connected and have a Blessed day,