2020 and 2021 are not going as planned. If you’ve lost a loved one, family and friends cannot support you in person as they normally would. Opportunities to share memories and grieve together are limited by legal restrictions and safety concerns. This is not what any of us thought grieving would look like.
In the words of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg discussing the loss of her husband: when option A is not available, do all you can “to kick the sh*t out of option B”. We know a virtual funeral isn’t always option A, but below are our thoughts on how to kick the sh*t out of option B.
The New York Times podcast “The Daily” described some of the unexpected benefits of virtual funerals in A New Way to Mourn. With traditional options unavailable, family and friends have an opportunity to think creatively and craft a farewell for their loved one that is meaningful and unique. Would your granddaughter like to perform a dance or read a poem? Would you like to share photos or videos of your loved one? If black is not your vibe, perhaps all of your family and friends would like to wear your loved one’s favourite colour? These are not normal times and you should not feel limited to normal funeral traditions.
It is important to share moments of grief and sorrow, but it is also important to make sure a funeral or celebration of life allows for moments of joy and connection. Perhaps those moments come from perusing favourite photos of your loved one or from sharing a funny story about their childhood. The four walls of a funeral home do not create these moments, they simply facilitate them. Technology can facilitate them too.
Technology platforms can create a virtual receiving line so that you can greet guests one on one and privately accept their condolences and share memories. Different platforms can facilitate sharing music, videos, photos and stories with all of your friends and family so that you can remember and mourn together as a group. The venue may look different, but various technology platforms offer an opportunity to celebrate the life of your loved one in a unique and meaningful way.
At Sincera, we look at virtual funerals as an opportunity to celebrate life in a new and unique way, but we understand that you might not feel the same. Zoom and other platforms can facilitate all kinds of interactions, but they can’t facilitate a good old-fashioned hug. There is nothing wrong with having a virtual funeral now and an in-person memorial once it’s safe.