CHICAGO, IL — MARCH 17, 2020
With Federal Guidelines That Maximize Gatherings to 10 People, Funerals and Memorials Will Now Be Intimate Gatherings, Stream Online or Be Postponed.
“Mourners Will Still Need Support, Sympathy and Condolences.”
With new federal guidelines maximizing gatherings to ten people, funerals, memorials and those mourning are adversely affected. On an average day in the United States, there’s an estimated 7,700 deaths (Center for Disease Control). Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, these non-Coronavirus deaths will continue and numbers will increase due to the crisis.
Michael Schimmel, CEO of Sympathy Brands parent company to eCondolence.com and shiva.com that specialize in end-of-life preparation, grief, condolence, and commemoration services, recognizes that the new guidelines are gray and still in flux It’s unclear how these guidelines apply to funerals, burials and gatherings and how they will be enforced. In the meantime, Schimmel offers funeral and memorial recommendations during this unprecedented time.
- Work with a local funeral home, cemetery and clergy to determine how to proceed with private funerals and burials and/or with a restricted guest list;
- Determine whether funerals should be in chapels or conducting it graveside in the fresh air and implement six feet of social distancing;
- Determine if the funeral home has online streaming options and if this fits into a mourners comfort zone;
- Expressing condolences and remaining in touch by phone, text, FaceTime and other means of technology is effective and useful in supporting a mourner;
- Send sympathy notes, messages or condolence cards that share thoughts and offer personal expressions. Given restrictions, closures and limited resources, an email containing sentiments is also acceptable;
- Remember mourners will still need support, sympathy and condolences. Given the circumstances, the modification of plans for honoring, commemorating and memorializing their loved one often creates a new type of grief and sense of loss.
- Food is a thoughtful way of paying tribute and at the same time provides nourishment for the mourners. In many traditions it is common to send a sympathy basket or condolence meal;
- Flowers are another way to send condolences and to let the family know you’re thinking of them; and
- Planting a tree in memory of an individual or family’s loved one remains an appropriate way to express condolences.
Schimmel says funerals and burials will continue to take place. He emphasizes that the mourning family must still be cared for and supported by extended family and friends to help through the grieving process, and sending a sympathy gift remains an appropriate way to express condolences.
“There will never be a replacement of personal interaction, however these options for expressing condolences and showing support will assist family members, friends and colleagues during their time of need.”
shiva.com and eCondolence.com offer technology platforms to funeral homes and cemeteries that help organize each burial allowing the family to organize and communicate with their support systems about any specific funeral plans or aftercare sympathy needs such as contributions, food, or donations. These platforms also provide critical educational information about religious and cultural customs, appropriate verbal and written condolence messages, suggested sympathy and commemorative gifts, and health and wellness safety measures.
The company reports a 300 percent increase over this time last week in inbound calls and emails as consumers and businesses who specialize in end-of-life preparation, grief, condolence, and commemoration services question the best way to proceed.
ABOUT SYMPATHY BRANDS
The Sympathy Brands portfolio that includes shiva.com, eCondolence.com and cemetery.com, offers a modern way to plan in advance for end-of-life arrangements, coordinate for a loved one, or send meaningful and religious appropriate condolences. Sympathy Brands strategic partners include best-in-class funeral homes, cemeteries, insurance companies, non-profits, bakeries and caterers to make planning and fulfillment supportive, convenient and seamless.
Sympathy Brands can provide access to Funeral Home and Cemetery Partners for Further Information.
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