There’s little argument that the pandemic has had a profound effect on the grieving process. A recent quote by a funeral home worker stated that the COVID-19 pandemic kills twice. First, it isolates you from your loved ones right before you die. Then, it doesn’t allow anyone to get closure. Because of COVID-19 regulations in certain areas, many have not been able to be at the bedsides of their loves ones as they passed away.
The process of mourning also has changed drastically with smaller funerals being the norm, if a gathering can be held at all. According to some grief experts, COVID-19 has created an environment that may lead many to suffer from more profound or complicated grief.
While it has always been important to provide families with a wide variety of options to memorialize their loved ones, today’s reality asks us to be even more diligent in all the options we provide so the best choice can be made for each family. More than ever before, today’s families need options to memorialize their family member in a permanent way.
A permanent memorial provides a family going through the mourning process a specific place to visit and remember the loved one’s life. Key to introducing the concept of a permanent memorial is to listen to the family and their desires. It’s important not to make any assumptions related to what a family desires as a means to remember their loved one. Instead, give them a chance to share what a funeral or a celebration may have looked like, and what their goals are for a lasting tribute.
For example, the question to these families might be, “Where will your loved one’s cremains end up in 5, 10 or 50 years from now? What will happen to them?” Ask questions that help them think through the final resting place for family, friends and future generations to visit as a means to remember the life they lived. You can help the family understand the options when thinking long-term may be difficult due to their immense grief.
Memorial options have grown immensely during the last few years in response to the rising choice of cremation. Cemeteries and memorial gardens across the country have expanded their offerings for permanent memorials. The following tributes are becoming increasingly popular in cemeteries across the country:
Boulders and Stones: Embedded with a bronze memorial of the loved one, granite boulders and stones can be beautiful additions to a cremation garden. They add attractive structure to the garden atmosphere, where loved ones can come to remember.
Pillars: Cremation pillars combine the beauty of granite and bronze to create a personalized memorial. Images and words can be captured in bronze for a custom tribute.
Bronze butterflies: Attached to cremation benches or boulders, bronze butterflies bear a loved one’s name and dates. Bronze butterfly memorials are rising in popularity for their creative and natural symbolism of rebirth and new life.
Glass-front niches: Popular for interior applications, custom-designed glass-front niches offer numerous opportunities for creating a personalized memorial. Loved ones may place keepsakes or mementos alongside the cremation urn for display, and have the option of interior lighting. Glass-front niches offer the option of redecorating and availability in different sizes.
Benches: Granite benches are available in numerous designs and can either stand alone or complement Private Estates®, community mausoleums, and cemetery gardens, with the option to incorporate bronze plaques or cremation urns.
Granite columbaria: Granite columbaria are used in exterior applications — both independently and oftentimes as part of a larger multi-product cremation garden. Outdoor gardens are continuing to gain popularity as a creative venue for memorialization, frequently utilizing space unsuitable for traditional burial and offering a variety of price points.
As we all navigate these trying times, providing a wide variety of options to families is key to helping them find a last tribute to their loved one.