The numbers of people choosing not to have a funeral after their death had been increasing in the UK. It was estimated that about 2000 people in England and Wales have been making that choice each year.
In today’s circumstances, that choice may be taken away. There will be many different reactions to this. People may struggle with not being able to mourn in keeping with their faith, traditions and cultural heritage. You may feel unsettled, guilty or worried you will not have an opportunity to say goodbye to your loved one or experience collective grieving.
Planning the funeral is often what people focus on immediately after the death of a loved one: it is something that “needs to be done”.
So what happens in the absence of a funeral?
We have put together some ideas that you could consider as alternatives, to help you grieve and commemorate your loved one.
Create a memory area: It could be a collection of photos or objects that reminds you of your loved one. You may want to light some candles or write messages on cards and tie them to a plant in your home or garden. Set aside a specific time to do this. If you have children they may want to draw pictures or write a letter to add to the area.
Make a time to have a memorial: you could have a dinner with those in the household and even agree a time to call in others to virtually join you. You could decide on a meal that others also cook so you are together even if you are not physically together. You can eat and share memories. You can open the floor to everyone to share their stories, memories, music, art, or anything else they wish to share.
Make a memorial book: You could ask friends and family to send you photos, stories, memories, songs and make them all into a book. Spending time doing this on your own or with others could be a positive way to remember the person you have lost.
We do not know how long restrictions on physically gathering together may last and you may want to plan a memorial service that can be arranged for a date in the future.