Funerals are currently restricted to 10 attendees at any one time.

Innovation helping people grieve loved ones

May 7, 2020 BY

SOCIAL distancing regulations have forced many people to think differently about how they commemorate loved ones that pass away.

In Victoria, funerals are restricted to 10 attendees at a time, making normal arrangements an impossibility for many families.

However, Deakin Universty lecturer in cemetery practices Dr Philip Bachelor said people have discovered new ways to allow the grieving process to take place.

“I’ve found what’s happening really interesting. People are being very innovative and so my view on the whole thing is very optimistic.

“Our traditional customs and rites have all been challenged. We have a need to work through our grief, but we’re now doing it in different ways.”

Dr Bachelor said those affected have overcome restrictions in different ways.

“We’ve got family who are not attending but who are joining in through live-streaming. We’ve also got other funerals where they will have up to 10 gathered around at the coffin, and then they will go away and another group standing back will go in, and so the formal service is actually being repeated so that everyone gets to share in what’s happening.”

While these changes have been made out of necessity, Dr Bachelor believes some may continue in some form even after restrictions are lifted.

“The way things have been, people have travelled from interstate, overseas to attend a funeral because there’s this strong obligation to be there. Of course they can’t do that at the moment, but they are still being included.

“I think we’re going to continue to offer electronic communications. I think this is going to be an extension and a logical part of funerals in the future.

“It’s working very well. The needs of most people are still being met, and people are still able to grieve. Supports are still available and counselling is available online.”

Beyond Blue is running a 24/7 Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service. People can get access to help by phoning 1800 512 348 or heading to coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au.