Including Family and Friends in Memorial Events When They Cannot Travel

When you choose to scatter a loved one’s ashes, many times there are people who would like to say good-bye to that person, however are unable to take part in this special event.

This is becoming a fairly regular occurrence right now - as we are in the midst of a pandemic, many people find it hard to leave their homes. In many places local laws prevent large groups from gathering. In addition many people may not feel comfortable in large groups, even if local law and restrictions are not in place. How do we include everyone when we have these obstacles?

Fortunately, we have technology to help us overcome some of the obstacles that we face in today’s world. In this article we discuss the pro and cons of different online platforms as well as options that don’t involve the internet.

Facebook Live for Memorials

memorial covid

Facebook isn’t just a place to share opinions and post pictures, it can also be a way to communicate in real time. If you are scattering ashes in a special location that is not easily accessible but has good phone service, Facebook Live can help you livestream your memorial event. This can serve as a simple and effective way to let friends and family watch the ceremony. Facebook Live is not an interactive service so if you want a more virtual event with friends and family everywhere able to participate, you need to consider other options.

Zoom, Live or Recorded Ceremonies

If you want a way to set up an interactive service, Zoom can be the perfect option.  Zoom places everyone on a video call and gives everybody the ability to talk with each other. It can easily be set up by emailing participants a private link that can be used either on a computer or a smartphone. Zoom also allows you to record the event so it can be viewed later in case someone misses the ceremony.

If you are scattering ashes as part of the ceremony, people can watch this happen live and have a chance to say something.

It is a good idea to designate someone to take charge of the Zoom meeting. They can make sure the participants can see what is happening and assign different people to talk. Online meetings can quickly become chaotic when there isn’t someone leading them.

It is important for everyone to have a solid internet connection. If you are in a remote location, video might freeze often and make it difficult for people to understand what is being said.  

Zoom or a similar platform can be very convenient if you want to record and share the ceremony as well.

Record the Ceremony

Another option for including family and friends who are unable to travel is to ask them for input before the ceremony and then make a video to send to them, or post it online as part of an online memorial. Ask people for memories and any keepsakes that they would like at the ash scattering ceremony, or use an app like Ecorial (found in the App store on your phone), where they can upload their own memories directly to the platform.   

You can read their thoughts on camera and show any keepsakes that were important. Be sure to record the actual scattering of the ashes as well. When you are done this can be copied on a disk and mailed, uploaded to the internet, or shared via a link. Recordings and virtual ceremonies help everyone feel like they were able to be a part of the event , and can remember the loved one lost, even remotely.

If you are having your loved one’s ashes scattered with a service, they will make a recording of the event for you. This can be added to your video for a lasting memory. An ash scattering service also takes care of any permits and other small details that can be easily forgotten.

Set up a virtual memorial

Online memorials are quickly becoming very popular. They are a safe and secure place to share memories, videos, pictures, and stories. benefits of an online memorial platform include: marking the location, date and time of a memorial event, a guestbook, a visual timeline of your loved one’s life, and a collation of stories. They are more private and secure than Facebook.

An Eco Memorial combines a virtual memorial with the scattering of cremated remains. With an Eco or Ecorial Memorial you can record the exact GPS coordinates of a loved one’s resting place and quickly create a unique and interactive obituary.

A virtual memorial is a perfect way for people all over the world to come together to remember someone who they loved.

Create a photo book

Creating a photo book can be a good way to share and even include friends and family who cannot attend a service in person.

You can ask people to mail or email memories to add into a book. They can send you pictures of themselves spending time with the person you lost. These letters and pictures can be added to pictures of the funeral and ash scattering ceremony.

Photo books are easily ordered and mailed from several online sources, or can be made online and shared for everybody to see.

Additional Thoughts

There are several ways to include friends and family in remembering a loved one when they can’t be there in person. These will work with most of the above options.

  • Have people write down a memory or poem, and share or record themselves reading it;
  • Have children draw pictures or create something that reminds them of the special person. This can give them a sense of closure and also give adults around them insight to what the child is thinking; or
  • Leave a voice message: Some people need to be heard. There are many ways to leave voice recordings. This can be a great way for both children and adults to say their final thoughts and good-byes.

We hope this has given you some meaningful ways to honor and remember your loved ones during this time when it is often difficult to be together in person.