In these incredibly challenging times, one area of daily life sadly affected by coronavirus is funerals. As a result of necessary social distancing restrictions, we’re seeing levels of distress like we’ve never seen before. Make no mistake, there will have to be a huge focus supporting grieving people with mental health problems in the coming months and years.
But we’re also seeing some immensely uplifting moments which have moved us in ways that, despite being experienced funeral directors, we never imagined possible.
For example, last week we directed a funeral at Lodge Hill Crematorium for an elderly gentleman who lived with his wife in sheltered housing in Kings Norton.
As we drove the hearse very slowly out of the complex there were quite a number of residents standing in their doorways and on the pavement (all maintaining social distancing rules) when spontaneous clapping broke out in tribute to their dear friend and neighbour.
It was such a moving experience and we felt humbled to witness this public display of love and respect for a clearly popular and well-liked man. His family were touched by this act of kindness too.
As we journeyed together passing through Kings Norton, Cotteridge, Bournville and Selly Oak there were a number who paused or removed their hats as a mark of respect as we passed by. There’s a different feel to travelling in cortege brought about by quieter roads and a much more considerate and respectful attitude from and to others.
At another funeral, we left from a Northfield address with a coffin draped with St George’s flag. Friends and neighbours were gathered on the pavement with flags and red roses; as the hearse passed by someone placed a red rose on the roof of the hearse.
Other family and friends gathered at two strategic points en route to Lodge Hill Crematorium as we passed slowly by; they waved, waved the flags and blew kisses – all acts of thoughtfulness and respect for the one they have loved and lost and yet, in these difficult times can’t join with others to honour through their funerals.
To those who contribute by bowing their heads, waving their flags, clapping and paying their respects, the team at Mortons wants you to know how much it means to the families who are being prevented from having the funeral they’d have hoped for.
Your support, presence, respect and remembrance is worth more than you’ll ever know.
In difficult times, it’s hugely comforting to witness a strength of spirit that refuses to be defeated by adversity. We’re seeing the GREAT in Great Britain again.