happened last Sunday, Sept. 22, may have seemed impossible six months
When Dr. Anthony
Fauci predicted in March that Covid-19 could kill as many as
200,000 Americans, skeptics accused him of fearmongering. But Fauci
was right. And the U.S. has reached that joyless milestone even
earlier than predicted.
compound the pain, the virus has crippled our ability to properly grieve
for our dead as we have for generations.
Traditionally, at a time of loss, a funeral, burial or celebration of
life occurs, where individuals gather together to pay final respects to
the deceased and support the bereaved. But. physical distancing measures
to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including limiting group gatherings,
lockdowns, and self-quarantine for travelers, have greatly affected
social and therapeutic forms of mourning. While most traditional funeral
providers still offer services, the pandemic has, by necessity,
reshaped the socializing aspect of their businesses and forced adoption
of inconvenient masking and distancing protocols.
Conversely, demand for virtual funerals is growing. A virtual funeral
can be a practical alternative to a traditional funeral, allowing
individuals to connect, grieve, and commemorate via digital
technologies, including smartphone or computer. Cheap and reliable
internet technology has made real-time connections almost universally
In some cases,
local funeral providers may already be equipped to record and stream a
virtual service; and in other cases, family members may choose to record
the service and stream it themselves. In addition, there are several
third-party companies that specialize in streaming virtual funerals
including: GatheringUs, TribuCast, One Room, Midwest Streams, and Viewneral),
Alternatively, there are a number of free online programs to live stream
a service Those include Zoom, YouTube Live, Facebook Live, and Vimeo.