“We’re not talking about seven here,” he said.
Being fully present is especially important for attendees, says Aimee Symington, CEO of the label consultancy Finesse Worldwide. “If they’re on video, they have to be careful and not do things that distract them. If they are displayed on a screen, they don’t want to get up and sit, have their dog jump on their knees, answer a phone call. “
Give the grieving time to visit
One of the biggest challenges with pandemic-era end-of-life rituals is that mourners are separated from the community.
“Part of the grieving process is connecting with other people, talking with other people, but Covid has changed that,” says Reginald Porter, retired senior pastor at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Memphis.
Even at a small in-person funeral at church he says, “You’re there, you’re masked, you’re socially distant, and then, maybe, you go up and nod your head from a distance, but there isn’t. a no hug, no shake hands. It changed the whole grieving process and the whole bereavement paradigm during the Covid era.
Swann recommends setting aside time at a virtual event for people to visit and share stories, which her clients have done successfully. “They were able to share the stories of the loved one, and it resulted in some light moments,” she said. “It helped bring lightness at all times.”
Again, the key is to plan ahead. Let people know in advance that they will have time to talk or share photos, so they can prepare. When the service is over, designate a moderator, perhaps an uncle or aunt, to take over. The moderator can create a registration using the chat feature, invite guests who are hoping to speak to raise their hands using virtual features, or individually call mourners to let them know when it’s time to share .
“Plan it so that people feel engaged,” says Swann. “It makes the grieving process easier.”
Use the chat function wisely
Symington suggests that those who don’t want to talk can use the chat feature to write a few words of condolence or share a story, so that after the event, the family of the deceased can see an impression or even put the stories in a folder. book of memories.
But Farley cautions against using the chat feature as a means of side conversations. “It’s way too easy, especially if we’re talking about Zoom, for someone to accidentally broadcast a message to an entire group that they meant for one person,” he says. “If you say, ‘Oh my God, look at Cousin Bob – he’s put on weight’ – that would be a mortifying thing to broadcast. Keep the window open in case you need to reply to a message. But in general, using the chat feature is risky and at a minimum it means that you are not logged into the main stage. “
Virtual funerals are here to stay
On-screen funerals are nothing new. Almost 24 years ago, 2.5 billion people watched Princess Diana from Westminster Abbey. But the pandemic has meant fame is no longer a requirement for a live-broadcast funeral.
Swann is among the etiquette experts who believe virtual end-of-life events are here to stay, which is why it’s important, she says, to figure this out now. “I think once the doors open and we can all come together again, we’ll start to think about including people who aren’t physically present with us, and we’ll build on some of those resources that we had at the time. of the pandemic. It will continue in its own format. Rather than “instead of”, it will be “in addition”. “