How do I mark a Death Nowadays?

You don’t need me to tell you that there are a lot of deaths at the present time, and I’m truly sorry if you are affected. If you are, you are probably aware that your funeral choices are now limited.

Direct Cremation

Depending on where you go, you may be offered a direct cremation. That means the body is cremated with no celebrant or even mourner present. The next-of-kin is simply offered the ashes afterwards. That permits minimal closure and is not satisfactory for most people.

‘Conventional’ Services

The fact that one crematorium only offers direct cremation doesn’t prevent you from having a more conventional service, if you are prepared to travel to another, as there’s no consistency across crematoria! Of course, the service attendees are limited to 10, so it may mean picking and choosing your guests. Also, respecting social distancing, you may be sitting apart from each other, so this is also far from an ideal scenario.

One solution

A number of people are considering a Memorial Service (or Celebration of Life) once lockdown is over. This has many advantages: you can hold it where you wish (it doesn’t have to be at the crematorium or chapel), you can invite whom you choose, you can serve up a spread on the premises and, most importantly, you can have the ceremony that you feel is most appropriate. It can be compered by anybody (including a celebrant, if you so desire) and a celebrant can give you ideas what can go into the ceremony and who could take part.

Another solution

It may suit you to go to the crematorium garden (by arrangement) or elsewhere for a scattering of ashes ceremony, which a celebrant can lead for you.

No escaping COVID-19

No escaping COVID-19

It’s difficult to keep smiling in such times, but it’s certainly better to hang in there, rather than to despair. Despair isn’t going to profit anybody.

At least, we must be there for others (as so many of them are there for us).

I’m far from unique in that my income has shrivelled and is likely to get worse before it gets better. I’m self-employed, of course, and the government – at the time of writing – has not worked out how to help people like myself. It’s all rather alarming.

So I’m trying to keep going and preparing for coming out the other side.

There are still a few ceremonies on my lists. Weddings have (obviously) been re-arranged to the Autumn, so I’m looking forward to those, but there are no new bookings (understandably).

I’ve got three funerals booked this week. With a maximum of ten mourners allowed, it is somewhat unsatisfactory, but, at least, some closure can be offered to families.

My local crematorium is allowing such ceremonies to continue until 9th April. Then it will be up to families to organise a direct cremation (ie with no ceremony or attendees at all present). Eventually, there could be the option of arranging a celebration of life service when things are a lot calmer.

I have some experience of compiling and conducting memorial services, and would be glad to help families put one together.

I’d be happy to have a non-obligation chat with anyone who is baffled and bemused, and perhaps I can help them see straight in these bewildering times.