Support for when you can't attend a funeral

Support for when you can't attend a funeral

It's so difficult when you can't go to the funeral of someone who has died. This page suggests a few ways in which you can still connect with family and friends, and remember from home.

If someone you love has recently died, this will be an exceptionally difficult time for you. There will be severe restrictions on who can go to the funeral and so you will feel that you can’t pay your respects in the way you would have wanted.

Although it will never replace the comfort of being there personally, there are some things you can do at home that will help you to remember the person who died, to pray and to ‘be present’ in thought, even if you’re not there physically.

Here are some suggestions

  • If the funeral is being live-streamed, then you could watch online. The Funeral Director or the minister may be able to help coordinate this; let the immediate family know that you’d like to be included when they share the live link.
  • There is a reflection available to download from this page (below) which you can read at home, perhaps while the funeral is taking place, or at an arranged time when others can take some quiet time to read it too.
  • Why not take a few moments to think, write, or draw some of your memories of the person? Later you may be able to share that with others at a special memorial service.
  • You can still pray at home – see here for some ideas. There is also a bookmark-style prayer card which you can download from this page (below) to help.
  • You might like to read a poem or look at Psalm 23, which is read at every church funeral.
  • You can light a virtual candle online by following this link, and/or you can light a candle at home as you remember.
  • You could write and send a card to others who are missing the person you are grieving.
  • Remember that when this crisis is over (and it will pass) there will always be services for remembering lost loved ones, such as All Souls day. Anyone can go to these services.
  • It may also be possible for the local church to help you organise a formal or informal service to remember the person afterwards, when it becomes safe to meet up with others again.

If you were unable to see the person before they died

  • This is particularly hard, and the best thing to do is to talk to someone about your feelings. Many of the things above will also help.
  • The charity Cruse Bereavement Care is also offering all kinds of support and has a number of online leaflets to help you.