Funeral planning made more difficult amid COVID-19 pandemic

Not only has the coronavirus pandemic changed nearly every facet of our daily lives, it’s also changed the way we grieve.

Take Karen Smith, who recently lost her husband Forrest to melanoma and is now working out funeral arrangements.

“I think he envisioned it as a big basically family gathering and – church family and other family members singing and worshipping – but with the limit of 10 people now, we’re basically relegated to a graveside service,” Smith explained. Her family is far from alone.

Michael Post is a funeral director at Baker Post Funeral Home & Cremation Center in Manassas. He said that basically everything he does has been impacted by the virus.

For a funeral set to be held later this week, for instance, Post said there will be a private one-hour visitation with no more than 10 people in the building at a time. There will then be a livestreamed funeral service, he said, still with no more than 10 people, and that will be followed by another small service at a cemetery.

Post said there won’t be any chairs or tents at the cemetery service, adding that some families aren’t able to have cemetery services at all right now.

“Huge change, and that goes as far as the type of burial, the type of funeral. You name it, it’s affected it,” Post said.

As for Smith, her husband’s funeral may not be what he’d envisioned, but she’s confident this is the way he’d want it given the circumstances.

“He would want people to be safe. He would not want a large gathering. He would not want anybody risking anything to come to some sort of service for him,” Smith said, adding that she intends to plan a memorial service more in line with what her husband had wanted once the coronavirus is behind us.