Funerals for friends and loved ones who die during the time of lockdown

Church of Scotland in Dumbarton:
Riverside Parish Church, St Andrew’s Parish Church, West Kirk

During the coronavirus crisis many bereaved families are finding that the restrictions that are necessarily in place for funerals mean that they cannot arrange a funeral for their loved one as they would have wished (though undertakers are doing a great job in supporting them with what can be done). They are missing having wider family, friends, neighbours and colleagues there, seeing folk they haven’t seen for a long time – and may not now see again – chatting and sharing stories, shaking hands and giving hugs.

There is no official notice of when or how the ‘lockdown’ restrictions will be eased, but it seems not unreasonable to assume that gatherings for occasions like funerals will not ‘return to normal’ until a much later stage in the process – perhaps months away.

Some families have indicated that they would like to have a service of thanksgiving and memorial for their loved one when it is possible to do so, and as the Church of Scotland in Dumbarton we would be very willing to accommodate any such requests. Other families are not so sure what they want: would many come, how will they themselves feel months down the line having ‘another’ funeral service?

With the latter group in mind – which could involve quite a few families – we are thinking of additionally organising ‘general’ memorial services for families, friends, neighbours, colleagues who have lost someone they knew during this time of restrictions, whether someone who lived in Dumbarton or in another part of the country, whether we were involved with the funeral or not. We are considering perhaps a couple of services (one during the day, one in the evening) in each of our buildings. People could choose which location/ time suits them best. We would like to be able to offer tea/coffee after the service, but that may depend upon the guidelines then in place.

Plans are still a bit ‘general’ at this stage, and probably won’t be developed until we know more about how and when lockdown restrictions will be eased. However we thought it worth mentioning our thinking at this stage, in case it helps people who have lost a loved one/ friend/ colleague/ neighbour at this time.

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