Hope While Facing Loss During COVID

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Making funeral arrangements for a loved one is an emotionally charged experience. And now, with the pandemic still disrupting most aspects of our lives, it can make losing someone feel even more difficult. Families may wonder, “How can we grieve if we can’t get together? How do we safely include everyone in a funeral service?”

As a family-owned funeral home that has helped people through difficult times for over 65 years, we are here to support grieving families and help them navigate these new challenges. We can guide you through every step of the process—from funeral planning to cremation to burial services—while keeping your safety the utmost priority. We believe gathering with family, friends and community is critically important to a healthy grieving process, which is why we’ve worked to implement safe ways to allow more people to attend services.

Flexibility in Planning

Our funeral homes are open and we welcome you to make an appointment to discuss arrangements in person. We’ve found that making funeral decisions at a private, neutral location can help ease stress and any family tension, especially now when life at home can be busier. We strive to make our office a comfortable and caring environment, and is now a safer environment as well, as we follow all state guidelines regarding masks, sanitizing and social distancing.

Of course, we understand not everyone is able to come to our office locations. As always, we offer in-home consultations for those in the Rochester and Webster, New York area. We can also make all arrangements by phone, online or via teleconferencing. As safety and quarantine guidelines may shift, we will always be here to provide services in whatever capacity is needed.

To Delay Services or Not?

In the face of uncertainty, it can be tempting to postpone a funeral or memorial service indefinitely. These gatherings are an important part of the grieving process. It’s more than a way to honor a loved one, it’s also a time for a family and community to come together to remember, support one another and begin healing. This is why, if your family wishes to have some kind of service, we encourage holding a gathering rather than waiting for when things go back to normal. Most families who postpone the funeral never do find the right time to do it. While this was extremely difficult for families that experienced loss earlier on during the pandemic, it’s now possible to adapt almost any type of funeral, wake or memorial service to fit within New York State’s safety guidelines. We can create a plan to help your family begin to heal.

Safely Honoring a Life Indoors

By current state guidelines, our funeral home can host up to 50 guests. If you choose to hold a public viewing, our staff will take care to ensure a safe number of people and social distancing is adhered to. To avoid crowds or waiting, some families choose to make services invitation-only and stagger arrival times.

If your family chooses to have a religious service, we can hold it in our chapels. Note that churches, temples, and mosques may have their own guidelines about how many people can attend services, and may or may not be able to host as many guests as our facilities allow. We will work with you and your place of worship to honor your loved one’s wishes.

Graveside Services Are a Popular Option

Many families are now choosing to hold funerals or memorial services graveside at a cemetery, rather than in a church or funeral home. Outdoor services are also limited to 50 attendees but are generally considered to be a safer option, as the open space can make it much easier to social distance. For graveside services, we work with you to ensure you’re provided the necessary equipment to hold a service that honors your loved one and meets your needs, so you can focus on yourself and your family.

Livestreaming and Social Media Let More People Participate

The question of whether to do an in-person service vs. a livestreamed service does not need to be an either or. It’s common to do both. Livestreaming can help limit in-person attendance if you prefer a smaller service, while still including a wider circle of friends and family. Regardless of the number of attendees, livestreaming a service is a meaningful way to include friends and family who can’t attend in person, for health or travel-related reasons.

We offer the option to livestream any services held at our facilities, graveside, or in your own home. We will also host an obituary and online guestbook on our website, to make it easy for you to share on your own social media platforms. This can ease some of the stress of informing people of your loved one’s passing while giving friends and family a place to express their condolences.

We understand that restrictions on gatherings can make such a difficult time even harder, and our hearts go out to those in our community who have had to endure this added burden on top of their loss. It is possible to find a way to honor a life that works for you and your family— even during the pandemic. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or not sure where to start, call us at (585) 244-0770 in Rochester or (585) 872-6380 in Webster. Someone will always answer.

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