Pray Funeral Home has implemented new care standards to comply with state and federal mandates based on recommendations and guidelines by Alan Wolfelt, Ph.D., C.T.Center for Loss and Life Transition
Pray Funeral Home has already taken special precautions in relation to the State of Michigan Orders regarding limiting funeral gatherings to 25 people or less. However, our compassionate staff is now developing our approach to funeral planning during this global pandemic, and to ensure that the grief of those experiencing a loss is not overlooked.
We are reminded of a number of truths about funeral service from our good friend, Dr. Alan Wolfelt:
- Anything that delays a funeral delays the natural mourning and healing process.
- You can’t push “pause” on grief. People will continue to feel their grief but will have fewer options to express it and be supported.
As Dr. Wolfelt states,”The forced need to separate loved ones and friends from each other at a time of death makes it much more difficult for individuals to experience the forward movement that funerals are intended to meet – reality, recall, support, expression and meaning. For many people, it can be disorienting to be separated from the body of a loved one who has died. We naturally benefit from spending time with the body and having a chance to pay respects and say hello on the path to goodbye.”
Meaningful funerals are “rites of initiation.” They help survivors start the process of taking their grief, the “internal response to loss,” and allowing it to become mourning, the “shared response to loss.” When people cannot participate in a ceremony, they often feel as if their mourning is “on hold.”
During this unprecedented time, Pray Funeral Home will be still holding funeral services - while following the mandates from the State Government as well as the recommendations of the Michigan Funeral Directors Association. Those experiencing a death in their family must not feel that the coronavirus is a good reason to take the path of avoiding services altogether. Families must consider taking the necessary steps to acknowledge their grief. Despite the current challenges with the COVID-19 virus, families experiencing a loss deserve support at this time.
To serve the families at their time of loss, Pray Funeral Home is making the following recommendations in regards to funeral services and supporting those in grief:
- Visitations and Funeral Services, in accordance with the State of Michigan Orders, must be limited to 25 attendees or less. We are recommending that only family and invited close friends attend. Families should consider issuing invitations for the funeral. In some cases we may be able to seat up to 25 individuals in our outside facility in the Pray Gardens. However no more than 25 people will be able to be present inside our building. Other individuals will be welcome to remain in their cars in our parking lot or on street parking, or up to 25 people in our outdoor canopy and watch the funeral webcast through a smartphone or cell enabled tablet.
- All participants, at a minimum, should wear a face mask at all times while within the Pray Funeral Home building. Individuals who have a fever or are experiencing sore throat, cough, nausea or other known symptoms of the novel coronavirus or COVID19 will not be allowed entry and may have to return to their vehicle where they can watch the services over the Pray Funeral Home webcast.
- In order to include those who may not be able to attend, we will be providing webcasting of all of our services with the families permission. This allows the services to be viewed LIVE at home. We can also provide recordings for those without internet connectivity. On a limited basis Pray Funeral Home will also make arrangements for people to participate in the service through Skype or Zoom at the request of the family.
- We have been conducting funerals/memorials outside in our beautiful gardens behind the funeral home. However at this time outside services are also limited to 25 participants present at one time. Our large canopy provides limited shelter and shade and protect guests from the elements. We have electricity for technology needs such a LifeTribute videos, music, and sound. For the winter we have also added patio radiant heaters to warm the areas. We still under State of Michigan orders that require wearing a face mask and practicing social distancing.
- Graveside services at area cemeteries are able to have up to 25 participants. They must wear a face mask and observe social distancing as required by State of Michigan orders. At any national cemeteries such as Ft. Custer National Cemetery or Great Lakes National Cemetery up to 20 participants at the committal service. All participants are also required to wear face masks.
- Dr. Wolfelt suggests considering holding an additional service after the current restrictions are lifted. In doing this, a family will be able to gather with the larger group of friends who are unable to join them during the restricted time frame. For families who opt to hold a later gathering, Pray Funeral Home will arrange and conduct these additional services at no additional charge. This additional gathering is an excellent way to honor the life of a loved one and activate longer-term support systems.
- We encourage those wishing to support the bereaved to reach out using Skype-type or Facetime apps so they can see facial expressions and approximate physical closeness. A simple phone call or even a letter can also show support to those sequestered in their grief.
- For those families who contact us for preplanning of funeral services we also have the ability to meet with families and individuals by computer using Zoom meeting programs for those who do not wish to meet in person.
Pray Funeral Home is here to help our community and families facing a loss in the face of this even more difficult time due to the challenges we face with the COVID-19 restrictions.
Help For Families in Grief During COVID-19
A helpful booklet is now available for families who have experienced a death during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The booklet, available below in an e-reader format, addresses the challenges of grieving the death of a loved one during the COVID-19 pandemic including the nature of grief; traumatic loss and its triggers; ambiguous losses; and the risk of disenfranchised grief. It also addresses the importance of talking to children about death and memorialization and the difficulties of being separated from a loved one at the time of their death. The guide offers guidance on how families can meaningfully celebrate the life of their loved one and discusses the importance of maintaining your health while grieving.
A special thank you author Sara Murphy, PhD, CT and foreword author Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD for their commitment to serving those who are grieving the death of a loved one during the COVID-19 pandemic.