ATTENDING A FUNERAL DURING COVID-19
Fernwood is open and serving our community while adhering to the latest COVID-19 directives from local and state authorities.
New information is being shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as it becomes available. If you have questions concerning funerals for those who have died due to COVID-19, please visit the Q&A section of the CDC website. Some questions might include:
- Am I at risk of contracting COVID-19 if I attend a funeral service or visitation for someone who has died due to the virus?
There is currently no known risk associated with attending a funeral or visitation service in the same room as the body of someone who died of COVID-19. If you are sick, please stay home. This will help prevent others from getting sick as well as help stop the spread of the virus. For more information please visit the Q&A section of the CDC website.
- Am I at risk of contracting COVID-19 if I touch someone who has died of the virus, after they passed away?
Please avoid touching the body of someone who has died of COVID-19 before the body has been prepared for viewing. Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds once you do touch the body. Use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not readily available. For More information please visit the Q&A section of the CDC website.
Options for When a Funeral Is Delayed or Not Able to Happen
We understand the difficulty in accepting that a celebration of life for your loved one might not be possible at this time, or that the service has been delayed until further notice. At Fernwood Cemetery, we are dedicated to assisting you however we can. Take solace in knowing that once it is safe for you to gather with your friends and family, you have many memorial service options. Planning can begin at any time with our compassionate funeral staff, whether you want a private gathering with your closest family members and friends or a more traditional funeral service.
Planning a Memorial Service
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may not be able to plan the memorial service you want. We encourage you to plan your desired service to be held in the future, once CDC restrictions are lifted. Delaying a memorial service is a difficult decision, but there can also be advantages.
Funeral services are oftentimes planned during the time immediately following the loss of a loved one. Planning a memorial service to take place weeks or months after the death of your loved one gives you the time you need to create a truly meaningful service. The extra time also allows family members and friends to attend who otherwise might not have been able to due to distance or prior obligations.
Fernwood Cemetery is here to help you plan a meaningful memorial service. Some ideas include:
- A display for photographs or mementos.
- Showing home videos or other movie clips.
- Officiating the service with a celebrant or clergy member.
- Playing your loved one’s favorite song or hymn
- Having friends or family members recite a text loved by the deceased.
- Asking attendees to share a funny story about your loved one.
The Importance of Self-Care and Staying Connected
Staying connected with your friends and family and practicing self-care has never been more important during these difficult times. As it may be some time before you can gather with all of your loved ones, you should take care to be gentle with yourself as your journey through the grief process begins.
You can stay connected and embrace self-care by:
- Making a social media post about your loved one’s passing. Ask your friends to share videos, photos, and anecdotes about your loved one.
- Listing an obituary in the local newspaper. Seeing you loved one’s life celebrated in ink can provide a sense of closure.
- Sending a newsletter about your loved one’s remarkable life. Email this to friends and family members. Invite them to respond with their own stories.
- Connecting with friends and family over the phone or computer. Don’t be afraid to reach out, whether it be a phone call or Zoom meeting. Celebrating your loved one’s life while speaking openly about your grief and loss is a powerful healing process.
- Keeping a journal. Writing in a journal allows you to process your feelings through words. If you are comfortable sharing this private process, invite others to read your words.
Supporting Your Loved Ones When a Funeral Isn’t Possible
Funeral services offer an opportunity for grieving loved ones to support one another. We understand that not being able to have a funeral or memorial service during these difficult times can be heartbreaking. You can support your friends and family even while you are apart by:
- Checking in often. Send an email. Schedule a phone date. Organize a video chat. Grief is an isolating feeling that will be magnified as people keep their distance from one another. Reaching out and staying connected to loved ones can make all the difference. You can talk about their feelings, or simply sit with one another in comforting silence.
- Donating to a charity or cause that the deceased believed in. You can donate in your loved one’s name and contact the family with a personalized note about your donation.
- Sending a sympathy card. You can include a personal memory about the deceased or simply let them know how much or an impact this person had on your life.
- Making future plans. It’s important to have something to look forward to. Make plans to eat dinner with your loved one’s family and friends once social distancing restrictions are lifted.
- Delivering food. The simplest tasks can become burdensome when someone is dealing with grief. You can relieve some of that pressure by having food delivered to your friend or family member. You can even send food that you know the deceased loved to eat as a way to celebrate them.
A funeral director is available to speak with you and answer your questions 24 hours a day. If a death has occurred or for funeral planning, please call us: (415) 383-7100.
We are here for you.