In this time of uncertainty and fear, the loss of a loved one may be made even more difficult by the fact that traditional ways to mourn and celebrate a life are not allowed because of the current restrictions on gatherings of more than 10 people due to the reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Funeral directors and staff, whose job and passion it is to comfort the grieving, are coming up with unique ways to help find closure after a loved one’s passing.
Joe Powers, owner of Powers Funeral Homes in Creston and Afton, said their facility is offering video streaming of funerals for relatives who are not able to attend.
“We at the funeral home have the challenge of obeying the government limitations to attendance at funerals,” he said. “At the same time have the desire to serve and facilitate life celebrations for people.”
Videos of funerals will be available on Facebook live with privacy settings so that families can choose who is able to view them. Loved ones can watch them as they happen or at a later time.
Bruce Pearson of Pearson Family Funeral Service & Cremation Center in Creston has been offering live stream services for some time. Those who wish to attend remotely can receive an email invitation, which includes a link to go directly to the funeral home streaming event.
Funerals that have been live streamed are also available later on the funeral home website. On the obituary page, the recorded funeral is accessible through the “watch” link. There may also be a link for a keepsake video labeled “watch tribute,” which leads to photos chosen by the family.
Pearson said he has not held a funeral since the restrictions began, but statewide he has noticed a trend in families delaying services after cremation or planning a closed casket service later.
Some families are also choosing to hold a small private service with plans for a larger one later once the restrictions are lifted. Powers reminds friends that they can still help families through the grieving process in tangible ways.
“In the mean time we challenge you out there .... to still send flowers and gifts and take care of food for the families,” he said. “Just use your creativity to demonstrate your love and care.”
Kelly’s Flowers of Creston said they are delivering flowers as usual. Customers can order online or come in to the store.
Pearson said if they do need to hold a funeral during the restricted period, only 10 attendees will be allowed, including the minister and funeral home staff.
“This is certainly something we’ve never seen before,” he said. “We’re trying to think outside the box a little bit ... trying to be creative in thinking and preparation.”
If a family is interested, Pearson said they could hold a drive by reception where mourners are given a time frame to drive by the cemetery or funeral home to show their respects. He said the idea comes from similar events he has seen for weddings and birthdays.
Funeral home services are still available for grieving families.
The Powers Funeral Home offices are closed to the general public. Those needing service may call in advance to set up a meeting.
Pearson offices are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment.
“We’re available 24 7 for preplanning or deaths,” Pearson said. “Our service to those families doesn’t change. We are only limited by state and federal guidelines. We are still here for people no matter what will be.”