Although some COVID restrictions impacting the funeral industry have been lessened, most families are still unable to hold the traditional memorial or funeral service immediately following the death of their loved one. This can be truly heartbreaking.
Planning a gathering or memorial service, however, can begin at any time and may be helpful as you grieve. Many have chosen to honor their loved one virtually through a digital memorial service that others can view or to hold gatherings via Zoom. If a traditional service is desired, now may be the time to start putting the plans in place for a future event, at a time when gathering may be possible as restrictions ease.
One advantage of holding a memorial in the distant future is that it will allow you time to plan a tribute truly fitting for your loved one and enable the involvement of others whose lives they may have touched. In addition, it will give those who would like to attend, but may not reside locally, the time to make arrangements and possibly play a role in the memorial.
The two most important factors when considering a future event are setting the date and choosing the location. As we have had to do for the past year, careful consideration should be given to the anticipated state of restrictions on social gatherings. Setting something for a few weeks away is probably not prudent. Extending out several months to include those who, due to vaccinations or ease in restrictions, will be able to attend will open up the service to many who would like to honor the colleague, friend or family member who has passed.
The next decision is finding a location. As things start to open up, many traditional venues will be in demand. Once the date is set, start to research locations that will meet your needs, dependent on expected attendance, weather (outdoor/indoor), atmosphere you want to create (formal, casual) and tone of the service. After those decisions have been made, it is probably time to reserve the space.
As mentioned above, no matter how far away the memorial event is scheduled, beginning the planning now can benefit those dealing with the loss now. In future blogs we will provide some of the things to consider when planning such an event.