Virtual Funeral, Really?

Virtual Funeral, Really?

Last year I made a special effort to attend a dear relative’s funeral. I was ill but medicated myself just enough to hold the cold at bay. It was important to me to be there with the family, to honor my beloved relative in this time honored ritual. I also thought that it was meaningful to the family that I attended. It was a special effort given this family had a wedding a few weeks later that I also attended. I wanted “credit” for being a steadfast relative but was not sure that both that motive was clean nor if it was noticed. Ironically, at the wedding I was given a report about how the event went, until I interjected that I indeed attended the funeral.

These circumstances made me wonder how I could nurse the cold at home and attend only one out of town family function during that month. The mourner asks: How could one attend without the effort, stress, travel, and expense? Given that loved ones are typically at least a few hours away, there might be options?

Sure enough, you can actually internet the ceremony honoring the deceased now. You view the event in real time or watch later. Regardless of time or space, you can attend. Certainly this can be a great source of condolence for those who live far away or have restrictions that prevent attendance. Yet, there are trade-offs to this option. The first is the cultural disruption. What would Miss Manners say? The decision to attend virtually does not sit well with someone like me who has a provincial background. Would the family have a choice in the matter? What would they prefer? Would the virtual ceremony be sufficient to provide proper closure or connection with loved ones? What would the deceased have to say about this?

There are dozens of angles to consider this. On the lighter side, this option gives a a confusing twist to the term “live stream.” I guess the saying is right, the service is really for the living. On a serious note, what are your thoughts on the topic? What are the important factors?

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