Like many Victorian families at this time, you may have experienced the death of a loved one during the coronavirus pandemic. This may have meant you had to limit numbers at their funeral, could not hold a wake for them, or that you are now unable to visit their grave due to state government restrictions. These would have all been very difficult and emotional experiences, as we know that commemorating a deceased loved one is an important part of the grieving process, and the coronavirus pandemic would have made it difficult to commemorate as one normally would be able to.
As this season is a particularly strange and difficult one for those who are experiencing grief, we have put together a list of some COVID-19 friendly commemoration suggestions. This list is not exhaustive, and by no means indicates the ‘right’ way to commemorate. We invite you to take any of these ideas and personalise them for your loved one or share them with someone you know would appreciate them.
Send your loved one flowers
Our contactless flower delivery service means you can organise for flowers delivered to the grave site of your loved one on a special day, or just because you are missing them. Our florist will then carefully select and hand-deliver your seasonal floral tribute to the graveside and will send a photo for you to cherish and share with your family and friends.
Currently in its pilot stages, our contactless flower delivery service is available at Altona Memorial Park, Fawkner Memorial Park, Northern Memorial Park, Keilor Cemetery, Preston Cemetery, Lilydale Lawn Cemetery and Lilydale Memorial Park.
Collate stories of your loved one
One of the best ways to feel close to someone who has died is to hear stories from their past: their childhood, their birthdays, their overseas trips, their schooldays. You may have letters that they sent you, cards from birthdays, or emails containing stories that have been passed around after the funeral. You could even ask your friends and family to send you their favourite memories of your loved one. You can put these all together in a digital e-book or in a physical scrapbook, maybe organised chronologically, or according to themes like ‘camping’ and ‘school life’. This will most likely be an emotional task, as it requires stepping into the past. However, once it’s completed, sharing this collection of moments and memories means you can invite others who are grieving into the commemorative experience and, in a way, continue your loved one's story. And at the end you will have a collection of love-filled, poignant and funny stories that cause happy tears to fall as you remember and reflect on the life of your loved one.
Hold a personalised ceremony
The funeral and wake for your loved one may have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and its resulting state government restrictions. This may mean you were unable to hold an in-person ceremony with the amount of people you wanted, or during a climate that is less unstable and daunting – essentially meaning not during a global pandemic.
Make a commemorative film
Putting together your favourite photos and home-video clips into a film that encapsulates the life of your loved one is something that you can keep and share with others for years to come. You could use your loved one’s favourite songs as backing music to the film, and even include a narration about their life and your favourite memories of them.
Host a virtual event with loved ones
Holding an online event with your family and friends honouring your loved one is a great way to engage in commemoration. It’s also an effective way of creating a space to share stories and memories, bringing the family closer together in isolation.
Make plans for the future
It’s healthy having something to look forward to. So why not organise a meaningful event or activity with your family in remembrance of your loved one for when you are able to meet again. This could look like booking accommodation somewhere special, hosting a dinner or organising a small ceremony that includes your close family and friends.
Find online support communities
There are online support networks that bring people together with shared experiences. Some groups you may want to consider: