CORONAVIRUS – COVID-19 – FUNERAL GUIDANCE
as of 7th April 2020
Current Government guidance is that funerals should be restricted to the smallest possible number of attendees – usually only immediate family and certainly no-one in the high risks groups or anyone showing symptoms of Covid-19. Even then all mourners should remain 2 metres apart from anyone not living in their household.
Some crematoria are making the decision not to allow family to attend at all – what is called a direct cremation. Your funeral director should be able to advise you if this is the case with the crematorium you are using. Burials are currently permitted to proceed but again with limited mourners (maximum 10 in most cases) and with social distancing observed.
At such a difficult time for you, it can be even more distressing not to be able to say goodbye to your loved one in the manner of your choosing, but I am committed to helping you find a way to create a respectful farewell. You may choose to have a simple ceremony outside the funeral home as the hearse departs to the crematorium; I can still write a full eulogy for you to distribute to family and friends, and this can be placed online on the Humanist Funeral Tribute Archive if you wish; I can help to plan a memorial ceremony to be held at a later date when all those you wish to be there can come together to celebrate your loved one’s life. You may want to consider an online ceremony (feedback from a ceremony held on Zoom), or some shared experience that you and other mourners can take part in simultaneously, and I can help with arranging or scripting that. I can also work with a colleague, Rachael Meyer, who is a professional videographer, to help collate memories, photos, video messages and music into a visual tribute to your loved one (a sample of this work is available to view here).
However you feel you want to make the difficult adaptation to these strange times, please talk to me and I will do my best to accommodate your wishes, within the constraints of public health advice.
Humanism is based on the idea that we can give meaning and value to our lives by doing what is best for people and the natural world, and that we can use reason and evidence to help shape our ethical decisions, without belief in any supernatural power. Its core values of tolerance, respect and empathy are ones I try to live my life by.
My first experience of Humanism was at a friend’s wedding service several years ago. I was struck by how appropriate the ceremony seemed for the couple, and how they were able to say exactly what they meant to each other, without the constraints of a traditional service. My partner and I subsequently chose to celebrate our own marriage with a Humanist ceremony, as well as the naming of our two children.
The more I learnt about humanism the more I realised that I had always been a humanist, I just hadn’t known what to call myself.
And as an accredited humanist celebrant, I have the honour of helping people through the landmark events in their lives, working with them to craft personal ceremonies that reflect their personalities and beliefs. I find myself in a job that never ceases to amaze and inspire me, and I count myself very lucky.