Covid – 19 and The Reinvention of Spring Burials

Talking with funeral directors across the nation and Canada I am hearing (as you are experiencing) that you are busy but the services are mostly abbreviated or direct. So your revenue is deeply affected. Many wonder what funeral service will be like after we struggle to return to normal.

I am a “true believer” in the value of gathering.  I believe that humans need to be together during times like these which leads me to conclude that, no matter what the proponents of electronic funerals say, nothing will ever really replace a human hug.  This social distancing thing is the proper approach but it ignores the need for human connection and is, therefore unnatural.  I suspect, at an unconscious level, many of your customers and their friends are feeling this.

At the risk of seeming arrogant, I think that if I were in your place I would seriously consider reinventing the spring burial.

Years ago funeral homes in colder climates would hold a funeral for those who died in winter and then postpone the burial until the ground thawed. They would store the casketed body.  Hence: “Spring Burial.” If I were you I would make a presumptive close with each family (including cremations).  I would say something like:

“It’s unfortunate we can’t have a full gathering and service with people present. We have learned that human interaction at the physical level is critical to the healing process. So we are scheduling memorial services for later this year.  We have openings for June 17.  Would that be a good date for you?  That way everyone would know when to schedule to come.”

For those that don’t elect to choose that option I would hold, at a date in the fall, a community gathering to celebrate all the deaths.  I might have a bell I rung as each name were read aloud.  I would invite not only the families but the community.  (remember, by then, people will be looking for human contact). I might even host a barbecue.  BUT VERY DEFINITELY, I would stand up and address the attendees to this community life celebration and remind them why gathering is so important to the healing process.

My two cents…take it or leave it.