By Jennifer Leighfield • 21 June 2021 • 9:00
Technology can bring grieving relatives closer
MANY restrictions which have applied to funerals and memorial services throughout the coronavirus have now been lifted, but recommendations and regulations still remain in place to prevent COVID from spreading.
Depending on where the funerals or memorial services will be held, it is important to know what restrictions are in place at the time. Failing to comply with regulations could lead to fines.
Don’t attend a funeral or memorial service if you have COVID-19, and if you have symptoms or have been in contact with someone who tested positive, you should get tested too.
If you attend a funeral, keep your hands clean and your face covered, and make sure you avoid getting too close to others. Limit the number of people you come into contact with and try to stay outside as much as possible. If you have to be inside, check that the room is well-ventilated. If you are at high risk of complications from coronavirus, it may be best to stay away.
Not what you wanted
If you are holding a funeral or memorial service for a loved one, you may be disappointed that not everyone you would have liked to see there could come. Meanwhile, those who were unable to attend may be feeling sad or angry, and some who did attend might feel guilty about it or worried about their own safety.
Bridging the distance with technology
However, to make sure that more people can be included even if they can’t be present, you can rely on technology, an important part of life, which is now also present in funerals and burials. It can allow families and friends to mourn or to commemorate the lives of their loved ones together despite restrictions and distance.
Services for burials or cremations can be broadcast live online using platforms such as Zoom, which is not too daunting to handle for anyone unused to using this type of technology. Webcasts, Google Hangouts and Facebook Live are other options which allow travel restrictions or personal situations to be overcome and can be comforting, especially for those living away from their deceased loved one. In many cases, a family member can lead the service.
Memorials and remembrance celebrations are also being held online so that friends and family can gather to honour a person’s memory, talk about their lives and mark special dates.
The internet can also be used to send recorded messages from those who could not attend so that they can be read at the funeral, as well as photos, favourite songs and other documents. Another option is sending virtual sympathy cards.
In turn, they can receive photos, music and readings from the funeral and write in virtual memorial books. Facebook can be used along with online publications to announce someone’s death and to send condolences, and blogs are becoming a popular way of commemorating everything that the departed did in their life and a channel to express feelings and ‘talk’ to them.
Funeral products and services can be acquired online, and this allows people to look around and find options with which they really identify and which allow them to plan a tailor-made celebration of their life.
There is also grief support and counselling available online, so that users can contact their counsellor at any time via text-messages, phone or video.
Crowdfunding to cover costs
Crowdfunding funeral costs has also become quite common, especially in the case of an unexpected death, and people have headed to sites such as GoFundMe to raise funds with the help of family and friends to cover the cost of a loved one’s funeral. It can also be used to raise money to donate to the family or to a cause that the deceased supported.
Beyond the grave
Taking technology beyond the grave is also an option and in an era where nearly everyone has a smartphone, applying the technology that they use to burials was an obvious step. Including QR codes on headstones and grave markers has become quite popular and are a way for relatives to access memories of their loved ones when they visit their grave site, as the code can be linked to an online video, photo album, obituary or memorial which can be shared with anyone who captures the code to see.
Making plans in advance regarding how to mark the end of a person’s life is something which is increasingly being handled by the person themselves rather than leaving the decisions to the grieving relatives. Golden Leaves Funeral Plans are available for this purpose.
Having control over funerals and remembrance celebrations doesn’t necessarily mean lengthy meetings with funeral directors. Golden Leaves has comprehensive information about their funeral plans online and their helpful team will be happy to discuss your wishes at your convenience by phone or online and help you to research and plan the way you want your life to be celebrated and remembered, so that it is something very personal to you.
www.goldenleavesinternational.com • [email protected]
• Facebook: goldenleavesspain
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Jennifer Leighfield, born in Salisbury, UK; resident in Malaga, Spain since 1989. Degree in Translation and Interpreting in Spanish, French and English from Malaga University (2005), specialising in Crime, Forensic Medicine and Genetics.
Published translations include three books by Richard Handscombe. Worked with Euro Weekly News since November 2006. Well-travelled throughout Spain and the rest of the world, fan of Harry Potter and most things ‘geek’.
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