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Having a service or gathering to remember and honor a life lived is an extremely vital part of the grieving process. It is a chance for loved ones to say goodbye, and it also provides an opportunity for friends, family, coworkers, and community members to offer necessary comfort and reassurance. However, there are currently restrictions on gatherings, and society is encouraged to stay home as much as possible because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, you might need to get a bit more creative in order to express sympathy and offer support to those grieving.
This period of uncertainty might also be particularly trying for those who have lost a loved one in the past. If their loved one’s birthday or anniversary of death falls during this time, it might feel additionally lonely and sad due to social distancing and the already overwhelming current conditions. Many of the ideas listed below can be used to show you are thinking of these individuals who are facing difficult days as well.
Get Creative with Communication
Sending a sympathy card in the mail is currently still a viable option, but there are also many ways to use technology to let the family know you are sorry for their loss and thinking of them even though you cannot be there in person. Send a heartfelt text or set up a time to video conference. When it comes to social media, follow the lead of the family; if they have posted about their loved one’s death already, then it is appropriate to comment with your condolences.
There are a couple of ways to offer your sympathies and connect through our funeral home website. As always, you can view tribute videos and use our condolences page to leave a message for the family. In addition, we have created HeartStrings, an option for you to upload a photo and add a note to the family that will be printed and posted in an area for them to see and/or placed in a guest book. You can also view a live stream or recording of the service when available. Specific details regarding these options can be found on the individual’s obituary page.
For the message itself, simply expressing your sympathy will be appreciated by the family. But if you knew the deceased individual well, taking the time to share photos and memories is more personal and might help provide the family with a deeper sense of comfort right now. Think of it like giving a virtual hug.
Have Flowers or a Meal Delivered
Depending on what is available at the time, you might still be able to place an order for flowers to be delivered to the funeral home for the private service or to the family’s residence. Flowers are a beautiful way to show you care and bring a bit of hope to a challenging time. Another related idea is having a meal delivered to the family in the days following the death of their loved one, which can help alleviate stress and provide a bit of simple comfort. During the current pandemic, purchase food to be delivered rather than bringing a homecooked meal. Many restaurants have adopted creative methods to ensure safe practices and limit in-person contact.
Just be sure you make arrangements with the family in advance for any delivery option, especially so that proper safety guidelines can be maintained. Also, consider letting them know they don’t need to write you a thank-you. That way they can focus on themselves and their healing.
Make a Donation
Now more than ever, perhaps one of the most meaningful ways to honor someone who has passed is to make a donation in their name. You could make a contribution to COVID-19 response efforts, but you can also still opt for a personal route such as an organization related to the individual’s interests or a charity they supported. Send the family a message to let them know where you have donated to in memory of their loved one.
Visit the Gravesite
Gathering restrictions still apply at the burial site, but you could consider visiting the grave on your own. To be safe, refrain from touching the marker or any of the arrangements. Let the family know you were there. They will appreciate knowing that you were thinking of them and that you took the time to pay your respects to their loved one.
Follow Up Later
Write yourself a note or put a reminder in your phone to connect with those who are grieving again at a later date when the pandemic subsides or once the social distancing guidelines end. It will still be just as important to offer your support at that time.