Virtual funerals at funeral homes in Warrensville Heights, OH is a product of the current COVID-19 pandemic that has most of America under stay at home orders, unable to attend gatherings with more than 10 people present, and practicing social distancing by keeping at least six feet of distance between us.
COVID-19 has disrupted the funeral traditions and rituals that are designed to help provide us with a safe and comforting space to mourn, surrounded by people who love us, care for us, and encourage us. One of those funeral traditions is the viewing/visitation followed by a funeral service.
Funeral homes are regulated by the same guidelines as the rest of the United States. However, if they allow gatherings of more than 10 people in the funeral home or do not practice and/or enforce proper social distancing rules outside, they can face hefty fines and the potential of losing their license to operate.
However, the current limitations of social distancing can be hard on both the grieving family and the funeral home because the viewing/visitation and funeral service are at the core of the funeral process for funeral homes and are a centerpiece of the beginning of closure for the family who has lost a loved one.
One innovative way that funeral homes are adapting the family visitation ritual is to have a drive-through visitation. The bereaved family will line up outside the funeral home entrance and, one car at a time, mourners can drive up, roll down their windows, and offer their sympathy and condolences at a safe distance from the family.
Some funeral homes have offered video recordings of funeral services or live streamed funeral services for several years. But not all funeral homes have the technology to do these kinds of funeral services.
Families and friends, though, are stepping in to help fill in the gap. With computer applications that allow free live video meetings where anywhere from 50 to 100 people can attend simultaneously or even free live streaming, virtual funerals (and graveside services) are now being held all over the country.
While having a virtual funeral service or graveside service feels different – because it is different – than having a live service with people in attendance, it is better than the alternative of having no service for your deceased loved one.
Many people are opting for virtual funeral or graveside services for their deceased loved ones now, with the plan for a full, attended service in the future when the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. This might be a great plan for you and your family if you’re saying goodbye to a loved one now.
To hold a virtual funeral or graveside service, all you need is a smartphone, tablet, or laptop and one of these applications to stream the service.
FaceTime is a great application, but it is available only to iPhone users (Android smartphones can’t connect).
For the most connectivity, you have several choices. One of the easiest is Facebook Messenger’s video chat. Up to 50 people can join at a time and you get a private way to virtually share your loved one’s funeral or graveside service.
Although Zoom has reported privacy issues, they are only with recorded videostreaming (and the company is rushing to fix this), not livestreaming. The free version of Zoom allows up to 100 people to attend your virtual funeral or graveside service. The only limitation that may present a problem is that the free version of Zoom has a maximum time limit of 40 minutes.