by Andrea Ruggieri
Amidst the cataclysm of COVID-19 the world’s eyes have been opened to the unsung heroes that have always been around us. The first responders, frontline healthcare workers, grocery store workers, and let’s not forget our dependable delivery people, among so many more. These unselfish people have allowed themselves in harm’s way in order to bring help and comfort to us all.
At a time where so many are suddenly unemployed, working at an essential business has been in my favor, but no one wants to talk about where I work. Amid a confusing time of fear and uncertainty a funeral home represents our worst fears.
I’d like to try and turn that around despite the common anxiety we are all feeling for the health and safety for our loved ones and ourselves. Regardless of the cause of anyone’s passing, we hope for comfort during even the hardest times.
I am not a funeral director, but I work with a team of incredibly caring funeral directors that want nothing more than to be a source of that comfort if it is needed. Working around the clock to be there for families regardless of the safety hazards faced today is actually reassuring. No one wants to lose someone they love, but my hope for anyone who is facing this is if a deathcare provider is needed, you are met with a kind face that understands what you are going through and will aptly guide you through this difficult time.
Funeral Directors are Your Warriors
They are Warriors who will take themselves out of the safety and security of their own homes to take care of your loved one. They are Warriors who will take every measure to ensure that you can make funeral arrangements safely. And they are Warriors who will do whatever is within their power to celebrate the life of the loved one you have lost.
What Does Planning a Funeral Look Like During the COVID-19 Pandemic? Am I safe?
It may mean making funeral plans that you are not accustomed to, and this may not feel right to your very bones. Not only are you faced with a terrible loss, but a great deal of patience is required for something that should not require it. Though viewings and small gatherings are possible, some services and celebrations of life will need to be planned for the future.
Bartolomeo & Perotto and Walker Brothers Funeral Homes are dedicated to safety first and foremost for our staff members and for the families we serve. Both funeral homes are taking all the precautions and are following all CDC guidelines for sanitation and handling of the deceased.
Social Distancing and Funeral Arranging
Granted that you have the necessary resources, we are offering virtual planning with Zoom meeting software for arrangements, keeping the visits to the funeral home at a minimum. If a face-to-face meeting is required, we keep meetings limited to only 3 family members so that a safe distance can be kept. If this is not possible, keep in mind that all surfaces in our facility are sanitized multiple times daily and hand sanitizer is available as you enter, and in all areas of the building. Our staff members will be wearing facemasks and families are encouraged to wear them for added safety. In our gathering rooms, chairs are set 6ft apart to abide to social distancing safety guidelines. We have an online register book in place to sign in virtually and show you care. For families that choose to do so, there is a web page dedicated to their loved one on our website with an area to leave condolences to those you wish to support.
Can I view my loved one before they are laid to rest?
The answer is YES, with embalming. It is NOT safe to view a body without this added measure during the pandemic. As an extra precaution, the CDC does not advise touching the body of the deceased.
Social Distancing – Viewing and Services
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic we are limited to how many people we can have in the funeral home at a time. This number includes staff. Touching, hugging and close contact are typically ways we show others we care when someone dies. Even though it goes against everything we are used to, when expressing condolences, at this time it is just not possible nor encouraged, in order to impede the transmission of the Coronavirus. If it is decided to have a small gathering, social distancing will be encouraged in all ways for the safety of you and your guests.
Future Services and Celebrations of Life
We understand it may be difficult to face the idea that you may need to patiently hold off larger services and celebrations of life. As people who have guided families through these hard times for many years, it is very hard for us too, as it goes against our core philosophies of taking the time now to remember and celebrate lives. Just know, that we will not forget your loved ones and will plan together with you, on how to celebrate them in the future.
Dealing With the Grief
The hardest yet, of all of these changes may be in dealing with your grief during times of isolation. The best thing you can do as a griever is to try and not be complacent. Take the time and find resources that will help you deal with your grief. Our funeral homes provide inspirational and invaluable materials via email or mail after we have served a family. Please consider visiting the resource links below for help and connect with those that will help you in a positive way on your grief journey. Most of all, have HOPE for yourself and all the loved ones that remain in your life.
Resource Links Promoting Healthy Ways to Cope