Life’s Rituals, Taken Online

This past week, my family and I experienced our first virtual cremation service following the death of my mother-in-law a few weeks ago in the UK.  Obviously with travel restrictions, risk profiles and costs notwithstanding is not what or how we anticipated saying goodbye to my wife’s mother and children’s beloved granny.  We were at least able to coordinate with family in the UK and mainland Europe and the Crematorium so that time zone differences could be accommodated for all us who wished to attend this ceremony.

So, the way it worked was a live stream from the Crematorium allowed us to see the front area of the Chapel accommodating our relatives casket, the officiating minister and first 2 rows of relatives and friends appropriately socially distanced and wearing masks.  The hymns chosen were played with a recorded voice rather than people singing in person in the Chapel for obvious reasons of viral dispersion risk.  Prayers, Eulogies and Bible reading were all as would have been present and chosen irrespective of these pandemic times.

Unusual and alien though this experience undoubtably was, we celebrated the life, love and passing of this family member with exactly the sentiments and cherished feelings that would have been wanted had we been able to all congregate in person.  For me this illustrates that what we have in our hearts and minds is able to transcend quarantine restrictions and pandemic requirements to illustrate the humanity of our relationships and their worth, sustained over time zones, continents and Wi-Fi.

I hope this experience shared, in turn, gives you courage and confidence in the situations where your relational activity has been forced online or alternately shaped by pandemic restrictions.  If the relationship is built healthy then no amount of Covid related interference can damage our humanity getting through.  

Simon Kemp – CEO

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