Have a Safe Celebration of Life: Five Important Things You Should Know

By: VGFS
Saturday, October 10, 2020

Loss is difficult under any circumstances. This time of deep concern over coronavirus transmission and physical distancing requirements can make bereavement even more challenging.

As the pandemic continues, it’s causing us to consider new ways to honor our loved ones who have passed on. Funeral services, memorial services, and other celebration of life events are undergoing creative facelifts to ensure the safety of guests while paying proper respects to the departed. Here is some valuable guidance to help you and your family safely commemorate your loved one’s life.

You can choose a future date of personal significance.

A traditional funeral service usually takes place within a few days after the passing of a loved one. With a memorial service or life celebration, you have the flexibility to choose any date you prefer. Tying it into another event such as an upcoming birthday or anniversary can add an extra celebratory element to the occasion. It also provides additional time to orchestrate a deeply personal memorial and gives those who are distant an opportunity to plan their travels.

Give careful thought to the location.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, social distancing is critically important so you should choose a location with ample space. Because local regulations mandate a limited capacity at indoor facilities, you will find that the funeral home spaces chairs at intervals or blocks off every other pew to ensure that appropriate distances are maintained. Still, some people may not be comfortable attending an indoor service. In this case, an outdoor event can offer a wonderful alternative. Most funeral homes also have appealing outdoor spaces for gatherings and celebrations of life. Whether it’s an area designated for this purpose or a sprawling lawn space dotted with canopies and tents, your funeral director can assist you in arranging a safe and comfortable outdoor event. Alternatively, you might consider a different kind of outdoor venue that suits your loved one’s preferences, such as a favorite beach, garden, lake, or park. 

Adhere to protective protocols.

Whether you choose to host your loved one’s celebration of life indoors or outdoors, it is important to follow safety protocols outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local governments. Under Maryland law, face coverings must be worn in all public spaces where social distancing may be difficult to maintain. Always do your best to keep at least a six-foot distance from others. Avoid hugs and handshakes and offer non-physical greetings instead. Funeral providers should encourage guests to wash their hands upon entering and exiting the facility to help maintain cleanliness. They should also have ample hand sanitizer stations located throughout the funeral home.

Share safety precautions in advance.

Invitations aren’t part of traditional funeral planning, but they are critical for informing guests about the date and location of a celebration of life and any COVID-19 precautions you would like to observe. For informal celebrations, digital invitations can be emailed and shared on social media. Paper invitations outlining these details may be appropriate for more formal occasions. 

Consider going virtual.

One option now available at most funeral homes is the streaming of live video of the funeral. This flexible online solution allows family and friends to participate from home. It is particularly helpful for those who live far away, the elderly, infirmed, and individuals with pre-existing health conditions. This virtual option gives guests the opportunity to express their sympathies and pay their respects when they may otherwise not be able to attend.

Create a safe, memorable funeral experience for you and your guests. If you have questions about organizing a celebration of life or need help personalizing a service for your loved one, our caring professionals are here for you. Please reach out to us anytime.

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 20 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. For more information, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.

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