By Michele Robertson
Closure is an important step in the grieving process, and in our
current situation it is harder to get through that step. When you lose a loved one, the first place you go is the local funeral home. With their expert guidance and assurance, they help get us through some of the toughest times in our lives. How does that all look right now with COVID-19 causing many restrictions on our daily lives? While some key adjustments have been made, you can still expect the same professional service from our local funeral homes. At Denton-Wood, no more than five family members at a time can go into the chapel.
“Families have been very understanding in this situation and we are seeing them come for the visitation in shifts,” stated owner Alan Wood. At a recent graveside service, Wood was prepared to mention the practice of social distancing, but he didn’t have to, as the family took it upon themselves to take that precaution and follow the protocols put in place by the Office of the Governor. Harold Finical, owner of West Funeral Home, shared a similar process, “we are limiting the number of people here to five just like everybody else.” Some services have been halted for the time being, like the limousine transport, but new services are also being provided. For example, Livestreaming is now offered. “Streaming the service has been helpful for friends and family to be a part of the service when they cannot travel or attend personally” Wood said. “Services have been recorded in the past, but not live streamed until COVID-19. Live streaming will be an option even after restrictions are lifted,” he added. Finical said his business is mostly doing mostly graveside and cremation services. Those that have cemetery plots are continuing with graveside services, but some are choosing cremation and a service at a later time. They are also limiting the number of people at a graveside service and following social distancing requirements. Wood also stated that while they currently have an adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), it is limited in quantity and they are on a waiting list for more face masks. The building is staffed, but the front doors are locked, and it is encouraged that you call and make an appointment. Wood has split his staff into two teams. Each team works a different shift during the week, so they do not overlap. Universal cleaning precautions are a regular process in the business and have increased due to present circumstances. Cleaning and disinfecting happen after every work shift and in between every group of five that comes in for visitation. As an essential business, it is important for him to take every precaution for the safety of his staff and clients. “The idea with splitting the team into two shifts, is that IF a team member were to come down with COVID-19, we would still have staff to run the funeral home” Wood stated.
Wood shared that he wasn’t sure if the families having burial or cremation services now will be having a memorial later for those individuals unable to attend. “It is hard to have closure and go on to the next step of the grieving process when you are unable to have the services,” he noted. Flowers can still be sent to the funeral home for services, Wood said. “There seems to be fewer flowers than normal, but flowers are still being delivered for services.” “It’s just a hardship on everybody. It’s a time when they should be together, and they just can’t” Finical concluded.