A family looked after by Ali at our Wymondham office have written about their experiences of arranging a funeral during the current coronavirus restrictions.
Living in a secluded spot in the countryside we thought we could remain unaffected by coronavirus. Michael, my husband, aged 79 had an active life much involved in the community and was a Church warden and Treasurer. He sang with various choirs and had a considerable knowledge of horticulture. He was a qualified judge of flowers, fruit and vegetables, his main passion being daffodils which he grew and judged in this country and America. When he returned from this year’s judging trip in Dallas we felt the chances of us sitting out the emergency were good. However at the end of March he became seriously ill and died from coronavirus on our wedding anniversary, 2nd April.
We had both made plans for our funerals, but due to the current lockdown it became apparent this was not possible. Rachel, my daughter, and I felt we needed full details of what the current limitations are. Access to the Church was no longer possible, but the staff at Rosedale and our rector worked with us in a friendly and supportive way enabling us to arrange a funeral which, although different to that which would have been held in normal times, was moving, dignified and uplifting which left us with a feeling of peace.
Death is hard to cope with at any time, but given the unprecedented problems we face at present the respectful, gentle and practical guidance we were given from all involved in making and carrying out the arrangements left us confident that we would not look back and have regrets over what could not be.
At present some of the coffins we might have considered are not available, but Ali at Rosedale, having talked to me about Michael and his personality, and particularly bearing in mind his love of daffodils, suggested a coloured coffin might be appropriate and the one we chose had a sky blue lid with sides covered in daffodils. As it was not possible for people to attend the burial many villagers and Church members from surrounding villages spaced themselves out along the route, some holding daffodils.
As a Church warden Michael had so many years experience of arranging funerals and it was a comfort to me that in all respects Rosedale dealt with his funeral in a way which he would have regarded as totally correct, everything was done in a smart, dignified and very respectful manner and all concerned treated us with genuine care and kindness.
If I had to advise anyone finding themselves in the same situation as mine I would say put aside thoughts of what you would have wanted the funeral to be but concentrate on what you can arrange including little details which are individual to you, your friends and loved one and ask for guidance from yout funeral director who has experience and can often suggest something you would not have thought of. Despite the social distancing it was a great comfort that friends and Rosedale staff all contributed to ensuring Michael had a moving, meaningful funeral. Michael and I loved Church bells and Michael was a bell ringer so one friend arranged for the bells to be recorded and played after the funeral, which was on a lovely sunny spring day, Michael’s favourite time of year and at the Church he loved.
Throughout the coronavirus restrictions, Rosedale is offering both GriefChat and Saif Care as part of their bereavement support for all families whether they have used Rosedale or not. For more information please click here.