Organising a funeral for a loved one is never easy, but in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become even more stressful.
For the last 40 years our commitment has been to help families’ farewell their loved ones respectfully.
We become the family’s strength in their difficult time. We always put the families we care for at the heart of everything we do.
This year has seen the biggest change in the way we in Australia and indeed the world, have conducted funerals and a change that takes empathy and understanding.
Not only have we seen restrictions on the number of mourners allowed in attendance, but social distancing must be maintained during the arrangement, the viewing, the service and the burial.
Our health and hygiene procedures have been stepped up, as with every other business to include disinfecting furniture after use, deep cleaning practices as well as the provision of hand sanitiser.
Adhering to government guidelines, our priority is to maintain the health, hygiene and comfort of our staff, families we care for and the wider community.
As funeral directors, we are used to seeing families giving each other comfort in their time of loss by embracing each other.
Sitting close, holding hands, offering hugs or an arm around a shoulder.
It has been heartbreaking for families not to be able to comfort each other in these very natural ways or even worse, not being able to be present at the service to say their goodbye, honour a life or comfort family and friends.
Outdoor funeral services became a preference for several families in order to avoid the indoor capacity restrictions.
The beautiful surroundings of natural bushland and manicured gardens at Eco Memorial Park allowed for an alternative setting to conduct the funeral service.
At our Eco Memorial Park Chapel, families had already been utilising the technology of our live streaming facility to enable those who could not attend to still be part of the service.
Our virtual funerals became the most appropriate way for a funeral to still go ahead, while maintaining the social distancing guidelines. As this would not be by choice in usual circumstances, we have suggested ways that the families and friends can come together after the restrictions have been lifted.
Health and Hygiene – the funeral industry has always adhered to stringent health and hygiene practices. Changes: Extra deep cleaning of communal areas; provision of hand sanitiser.
We are required to collect the contact details of everyone in attendance at every service. We keep these details for more than 50 days for contact tracing facilitation.
Social distancing – In our chapel at Eco Memorial Park we replaced our usual pew style seating with spaced out chairs. Maintained 1.5m SD guidelines at all times.
Current restrictions of a maximum of 100 people at a funeral service allow for 40 people inside our EMP chapel with accommodation for a further 60 mourners outside with access to screens and speakers to follow along with the service inside.
Virtual funerals – offered at the height of the lockdown in Queensland as a way of still going ahead with the funeral service.
Family and friends from interstate and overseas were still able to be a part of the funeral service from the comfort and safety of their own home via our live streaming facilities.
Positive comments received in regards to this service have proven that a connection to a ceremony is an important element to the grief journey.
Live streaming continues to be an important offering as state borders still remain closed.
Future Memorial Services – During the height of the restrictions, several families opted for a cremation only service due to anxiety about social gatherings.
However, the ceremony of a funeral/Memorial service is a powerful part of the grieving process. It allows for the finality of say goodbye.
It helps with acceptance of the death of a loved one. It brings together community to commemorate the life of the person who has died.
It is a time and place to offer comfort and support to all those that cared for the person who died.
As the restrictions have eased, we have already started to conduct memorial services for the families who could not have a funeral immediately after the death of their loved one.
These include services in our chapel, at the families’ church, outdoor areas including parks and beach sides as well as our
Ocean Funerals families who have a connection with the ocean, may want to have the service aboard a vessel to go out on the Broadwater or into the seaway.
For an intimate service and scattering of cremated remains.
Now, more than ever, we have committed to ensuring that the impact of grief is supported.
Grief of the loss of a loved one as well as the fallout of the social dynamics impacted by this pandemic has compounded grief.
Many families have been unable to be with their loved ones before their death.
It is hard to even fathom how a border restriction means that they have to live with the fact that their loved one died alone.
The restrictions have denied families and friends the opportunity to saying goodbye to their loved one in the manner they choose.
This has been one of the cruelest after effects of the virus. It is difficult to even measure how much this situation will complicate the grief experienced by families in years to come.
We saw a clear need to enhance the grief support services that we have always provided.
Our new Community Education initiative is looking at creating more communication with the families we serve as well as the wider community.
Through connection with our grief support services, we can offer guidance and referrals to other professional support systems.
If you are in the unfortunate position of having to plan a funeral, or you are just interested in pre arranging a funeral, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
A member of our dedicated, friendly and sympathetic team will be happy to help you with any queries that you might have so please don’t hesitate to contact us on the Gold Coast or Brisbane 24 hours a day on 1800 644 524 to inquire about out services.
Our aim is to make the process and talk of funerals as easy as possible.