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Life-limiting illness

Sensitive subject. Would it be OK to ask if anyone is having to make alternative funeral arrangements?

26 replies

Al1Langdownthecleghole · 29/03/2020 18:47

I have a gravely Ill parent who I’m unable to visit. Thank you Coronavirus. And I’m trying to arm myself for what happens next.

Has anyone else been through this? It appears that we will only be able to hold a very small funeral and although I can get my head around a memorial service later in the year, I’m struggling with the details of a small funeral. Is it even worth having flowers? It seems pointless if no one will see them, but mean and shabby not to. I don’t even know if florists are open.

I’m also worried about how to register the death during lockdown, I can’t see anything online about any changes, but how will it work?

If anyone has any advice or experience to share I’d be very grateful.

Sending love and best wishes to anyone in this hideous situation Flowers

OP posts:
GiantKitten · 29/03/2020 18:53

Very sorry you’re in this position Sad

Google suggests that local councils have advice on their websites about how their registrars are working during Covid-19

No idea about funerals & flowers. Probably best to ring an undertaker local to your parent for their advice.


Richlyfruited · 29/03/2020 19:01

Flowers I'm so sorry you are facing this during such a difficult time Sad

I've lost my dad a few weeks to MND. We're going with a direct cremation rather than a funeral and hopefully a memorial at some point. It has been difficult to get through to councils, banks etc and we needed to go back into hospital to pick up the death certificate which was stressful.

People are trying to make this easier for us given the circumstances but it's a massive pain. Some banks are still refusing to accept emailed/scanned copies of documents.

I'm hoping the admin will get a bit easier once the country gets more used to this situation. I have no idea when we might be able to get in and sort out my dad's flat (retirement home).

OldSpeclkledHen · 29/03/2020 19:04

I'm so so sorry you are in this situation.

My DM passed away earlier this month (just before this media frenzy virus all kicked off)

Her funeral is next month (long story - but originally involved my brother flying back from the States - which he is now no longer able to do) It'll be v small, and I don't even think there will be a memorial service later this year ?!

The vicar said they can play hymns (and he'll sing!) but it'll be v sad the low attendance (I've got over myself now about it, but was originally very angry and upset)

I'm kinda with you on the flowers front, do we - don't we? Still undecided.

Not sure about registering the death, the hospital/hospice/care home should be able to advise you, I think they must have a bereavement service that will be able to advise as a medical letter will be required to register the death.

It is truly sad that you are unable to visit, surely some compassion is allowed?

Again, I'm really sorry, thinking of you and everyone else in this shit mess right now.

GrumpyHoonMain · 29/03/2020 19:09

Do whatever feels right to you. You can always do more during the memorial. As an aside are you able to Zoom / Facetime the relative? It might help to get closure if that’s possible. I know a number of care homes and hospitals are enabling this for dying patients.

Al1Langdownthecleghole · 29/03/2020 20:22

Thanks for the supportive comments. It helps to know I’m not the only one facing this. And I wish you all well.

Re visiting, DM has suspected CV (was admitted from residential care with pneumonia) though test results are not back yet. Visiting is a no seemingly, except for a few minutes right at the end. Unfortunately, she is also very deaf and so phone / social media contact is also limited.

A direct cremation, might be a sensible option, but I would still feel like I’m letting her down. It’s slightly daft, as DM is the most pragmatic person in the world and would no doubt tell me that she doesn’t care a jot.

OP posts:
Matildatoldsuchdreadfullies · 29/03/2020 20:33

When my sister died we had her funeral, which was attended by very close family, and a couple of her closest friends. We specifically stated no flowers - mum picked a small bunch from her garden. The funeral directors obviously couldn’t face the idea of a flower less funeral and put a bunch on her coffin anyway. The funeral was simple and spare. But not mean or shabby.

We had a memorial service a month or so later (highlight was the entire Paralympic archery squad rolling up in their uniform).

I know this was our choice, so very different from your situation, but it was actually nice to separate our goodbyes from the celebration of dsis’s life.

Flowers for you OP. My dh is actually going through this at the moment. His dad died 4 days ago. It literally couldn’t be happening for you at a worse time.

BlueCowWonders · 29/03/2020 20:44

This was discussed on radio 4 this morning. The programme is 'Sunday' 7-8am.

At the moment there are no nationwide guidelines which makes it difficult for funeral directors and religious leaders as they all have to make individual decisions. I think it would be helpful for you to listen Flowers

Al1Langdownthecleghole · 29/03/2020 20:53

Thank you Bluecow I will have a listen. I’m in a “need to do something” mood and if I can’t do anything right now, it would help to have some idea of what’s ahead.

OP posts:
Annabelle0101 · 30/03/2020 09:45

I really feel for you. My Granny passed away a couple of years ago, and instead of lots of money wasted on flowers, we each chose either our favourite flower from our garden, or one that we knew Granny would have liked, and took it along to the funeral with us. Then at a certain time during the gathering, we all stepped forward and placed our chosen flower onto her coffin. TBH I think it meant more than loads of flower arrangements anyway, because everyone had thought through what was important for Granny. The money saved, went to her chosen charity. More and more families choose to have a memorial or celebration of life at a later date, we just need to come to terms with making that adjustment perhaps sooner than you would have liked to. Your parent will know you have done your best, under the terrible current circumstances I'm afraid that's all we can do. Take care, and stay safe.

Al1Langdownthecleghole · 30/03/2020 10:51

Thank you Annabelle I love that idea, it’s something DM would like too. Her favourite flowers are aconites, the first flowers of the year, but she is fond of all spring flowers.

I’m glad I started this thread, it’s been helpful to admit I’m not finding this easy. Thank you for sharing your ideas and experiences.

OP posts:
Annabelle0101 · 30/03/2020 11:27

Glad to have helped at your difficult time. Best wishes

aLilNonnyMouse · 04/04/2020 06:48

We held a funeral for my BIL 2 days ago. We had to have less than 10 people, sitting on chairs 2 meters apart. No flowers, no wake. Just a quick service at the crem and everyone piling back into cars. The crem sorted out a live stream so that those who couldn't attend could watch from home.

Mentally I'm torn about it. He deserved so much better, but she wouldn't have wanted anyone putting themselves at risk for him. We are going to throw a huge wake for him later in the year.

It was hard, everyone being upset but being unable to come together and comfort each other. Much harder than any other funeral I've been to. We are getting through it by planning the wake later this year and making it as special as we can.

SushiGo · 04/04/2020 07:04

Hi Al1,

I work in the industry. You are correct that the funeral will need to be very small, if you wanted to have the burial straight after that would also have to be a small number of people. If you decide on cremation you would be welcome to have the internment of ashes much later. It's very common for families to wait months or years before the burial of ashes.

If there are more people that would like to attend live streaming the funeral service is an option. The funeral directors should be able to sort that for you.

Best wishes to you and you mum.

notapizzaeater · 04/04/2020 11:24

Our council are only doing direct services to the crematorium from Monday 😥

Tootles2 · 04/04/2020 11:40

My FIL passed away 2 weeks ago and we had his funeral last week. He was buried at the local cemetery rather than at a church. Apologies if this offends, but this is my practical experience.

The chapel was closed so we had a graveside ceremony, which I thought was really nice. We were given clear instructions by the undertaker as to attendees (no more than 10, close family and a couple of friends). The funeral directors weren’t offering cars so we drove to the cemetery ourselves. We were told in advance to stay back until the hearse had arrived and the coffin was placed above the grave with the funeral directors staff standing by in silence holding the straps to lower It down. As they were directly beside the grave we stood nearby , all 6 ft apart.

The celebrant then did a short ‘service’ with music (Eva Cassidy & Queen) at the beginning and end (played via a bluetooth speaker). There was also a nice eulogy (Quite short leaving longer stories for a memorial) and a couple of poems. Once the coffin was interred and the funeral directors left there position people were able to go to the grave to say goodbye, although they weren’t allowed to scatter earth on the coffin.

All in all I though it was lovely, very personal for those close. We’ll have a celebration of life/ memorial later in the year.

I hope that answers some of your questions ..feel free to pm me if you want to know anymore.

TARSCOUT · 04/04/2020 11:49

FIL funeral yesterday. SIL registered death over phone. Dealt with celebrant over phone and online. Everyone took own cars. Managed to get spray for top, dad and papa wreaths (florist can't work from home so was in closed shop). Met hearse at FIL house and it drove round his "haunts'. Managed a piper too. Close family at graveside 2 meters apart. Other people did turn up st cemetery stood a few rows back keeping appropriate distance. We drove home again. Definitely feel shortchanged but perhaps if we all make it through this the memorial will have even more meaning.

TARSCOUT · 04/04/2020 11:51

Also were allowed to scatter earth and put single flower in to grave. Saddest things were.not being able to carry or lower coffin

CMOTDibbler · 04/04/2020 14:29

My dad died last week, and I've made all the arrangements. Normally you would have to collect a medical certificate from the doctor and take it to the registrar, but this is now electronic. The registrar appointment was by phone and it was straighforward. They post the death certificate and provide an email link to order more copies (though this hasn't arrived yet), and a reference for the government Tell Us Once service.
I have made all the arrangements with the funeral directors by phone and email (I did have to post the cremation forms, but as of Wednesday they can accept scans/photos).
I decided to do an unattended cremation for dad as two of us just standing in the crematorium seemed worse than not going at all. We'll do a service while scattering his ashes later, and make the celebration of his life. It is all very surreal though.

My bigger problem is getting his will from the solicitors as that seems to need a face to face meeting, and I'm not quite sure how to manage it. But thats next week.

Al1Langdownthecleghole · 04/04/2020 15:51

Thanks to everyone for taking the time to post here, and heartfelt condolences to anyone in this sad situation. Thanks

DM has sadly died since I started this thread and I have begun to make arrangements for her. We are going to have a direct cremation and a memorial service for friends and family, many of whom are elderly themselves, later on.

As others have said, a lot of the arrangements have moved online, and I have to say. I personally found this easier than having to speak to people face to face.

As a family we have been posting photo memories online, and although this is about as far from anything DM imagined as it is possible to get, I have found it comforting, and have enjoyed the memories of better times.

There are many challenges yet to face, I don't know when I will be able to collect her belongings from her residential home and say a proper thank you to the staff who cared for her, but for now, we can hold her in our hearts.

Thank you again for the support and unmunsnetty and unlockdowny hugs to you all.

OP posts:
LittleCabbage · 04/04/2020 16:06

I'm so sorry that you have lost your DM, and that you can't give her the send-off you would wish for her. What a difficult situation. I hope you manage to arrange things in a way that allows you peace. Best wishes Flowers

Al1Langdownthecleghole · 04/04/2020 16:09

Thank You Littlecabbage

OP posts:
I0NA · 04/04/2020 16:15

I’m sorry for your loss.

CMOTDibbler · 04/04/2020 17:30

I'm so sorry to hear that your mum has passed, and I wholeheartedly agree about the photo memories of happier times Flowers

Paddingtonthebear · 04/04/2020 17:36

So sorry for your loss.

My friend died recently and the funeral was held last week. Only close family, under 10 people were able to attend. His family at a later date hope to have the service and wake he had planned. It’s so sad to have your life cut short and then to be robbed of the chance to even have the goodbye you wanted. Sad

FurryAndFluffy · 04/04/2020 17:49

I’m so sorry about your loss. I think a lot of people will end up having direct cremations. I’m glad you are finding other ways to come together with your family.

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