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Watching a service online

While our local crematoriums have offered the chance to watch funerals online for a while now, this has tended to an option taken up by friends and relatives living abroad or by people who haven’t been able to attend the service, perhaps due to a work commitment, holiday or illness. Now, however, because of the current Covid-19 restrictions limiting the number of people who can attend, many of us have sat down to watch a service at home.


Watching a funeral service online for the first time can seem a little strange, as we have become so used to attending in person. Some people have told us that it seems odd to be doing something ‘normal’ like making a cup of tea and then going straight into a funeral service, without the usual waiting outside and quietly chatting with friends and relatives.


Others have been concerned that it won’t seem like really attending a funeral. However, we’ve spoken to quite a few people recently who have said that watching a service online has helped them to feel part of the day in some way and that they’ve found it comforting.


It can be hard to know how to approach a service online. We would recommend watching it with someone else – although we appreciate that during the current pandemic, this might well be impossible. If you can’t watch it with a friend or family member, why not arrange for a loved-one to also sign in and watch the service. Then, you might even want to have a messenger device open on your phone, so you can keep in touch with each other during the service – even just to send a virtual hug.


Afterwards, perhaps pre-arrange that you’ll speak to a friend on the phone, so you can have those post-service conversations we all have straight afterwards – chatting about the music and the tributes or that new fact that you’ve discovered. We’ve all been to funeral services where we’ve found out something about that person we’ve never known before.


If the weather’s pleasant, perhaps book a walk with a friend afterwards, to get some fresh air and share some memories. Alternatively, perhaps sit quietly and remember that person with a cup of tea and a couple of those biscuits or sweets they loved or, alternatively, a glass of their favourite tipple!


We’ve spoken to other people who said that they made a effort to dress up a little for the service, even though they were at home. We tend to wear smarter clothes to a funeral in ‘real life’, so putting on something similar, even though still at home can seem like a respectful thing to do. Alternatively, if your loved one had a favourite colour, then maybe wear a tie or scarf in that shade.


Of course, you could simply curl up on the sofa with your cat. It’s a completely personal decision.


We would advise though that you’re kind to yourself and keep the hour or so after the service clear – particularly if you’re currently working from home. If you would have been taking time off work to attend a funeral, then you wouldn’t be back at your desk 30 seconds later. If you can, allow yourself a little time of reflection, before heading back into everyday life.

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