Memorializing a Loved One During the Pandemic

(Family Features) Among the many struggles of the pandemic are finding ways to grieve and honor a loved one who has died under the constraints of COVID-19. The missed opportunity for a traditional funeral or memorial service has left some at a loss for how to honor their loved one’s life and start their grief journey.

Even if you are unable to hold a traditional service, there are still ways for families to remember a loved one and find support during this stressful and emotional time. Consider these four ideas from Remembering a Life, an online resource from the experts at the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA).

Hold a Small Service Now
While some communities are still limiting public gatherings, such as funerals, restrictions have eased in many areas and families may be able to have small services in a funeral home, a place of worship, at a cemetery or another meaningful location. A funeral director can provide guidance on what is permissible in his or her community and how a family can plan an intimate and meaningful service.

Consider Going Virtual
While most people find in-person services to be more healing, there are many options for incorporating a virtual component into a service when public gatherings are limited. With almost half of NFDA-member funeral homes offering livestreaming options since the onset of COVID-19, this option provides family and loved ones the opportunity to attend services and gives out-of-town family and friends who may be concerned about travel the chance to participate.

Host a Private Service with a Memorial Service at a Later Date
Since the onset of the pandemic, many families have opted to postpone a loved one’s service and hold some type of service once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. A funeral or memorial service, regardless of when it is held, offers the opportunity to gather, support one another, share memories and say goodbye. While immediate family members may have been able to gather for a service and other family and friends could participate virtually, there are often many friends and family members who would appreciate being part of an in-person service to pay tribute to a loved one who died.

Remember Loved Ones with Small Tributes
Sometimes even the simplest things can help recall fond memories of loved ones, whether by listening to their favorite music, eating their favorite foods or visiting places they enjoyed visiting. Remembering the things that were important to a loved one can help keep his or her memory alive.

No matter the circumstances around a death, funeral directors can help family and friends find ways to memorialize their loved ones in meaningful ways. Find support and resources for planning a funeral during the pandemic, including a free printable guide for planning a service in the future, at

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National Funeral Directors Association