The demands of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic meant that many residents of central New York were unable to meet and say goodbye to loved ones during funerals or traditional services. Edward Ryan Funeral Home President Chad Ryan said everyone is aware of the risk.
“They know that gathering large numbers of people is not a good decision at the moment. It is a balance between doing what they think they should do for themselves and ultimately doing what they think they should do to stay healthy. “
He says that some choose to postpone the final arrangements, while others advance with a limited funeral. He recalls one that was already installed just when things got serious.
“It was a cremation, and they were going to have a little service. And then everything hit. Especially the grandchildren did not enter … they were all over the country. There was a public viewing advertised in the newspaper. But at that time, everyone was locked out. “
Ryan says that as a result, very few attended the funeral. He says that situations like this can be an internal struggle for families used to large gatherings.
“The calling hours for some of these people from the west are huge … you know, some great Irish families. They don’t get the same treatment, so I’m sure it leaves something to be desired for some people. “
Ryan believes that people will come out with a greater appreciation for the funeral as part of the bereavement process. Bonnie is a counselor at Hope for Bereaved, which helps people cope with the loss of a loved one. She says that funeral directors do their best under the circumstances by being creative.
“Now they’re starting to say, maybe we can do it with electronics, and let people cry with this person at the funeral home through different media.”
Chad Ryan says they are ready to meet any family’s wishes, from live broadcast service to hours of service. Bonnie urges families to change their mindset.
“I think we have to learn to accept a lot, and say we can’t change a lot. We can’t control a lot. We have to learn what we can, not what we can’t.”
She says that in the absence of traditional services, she urges those who are grieving or know someone who is dealing with a loss to stay in touch with family and friends.