If you can’t attend the funeral, it may be possible to still feel part of the event to an extent. Perhaps ask a friend, relative or someone from the funeral directors to record, video, or even live stream the event. You may be able to write or record a message to be read out or played at the funeral. Speak to your funeral director for advice.
You could write a letter to the person who has died or doing a drawing for them can also be a way of saying ‘goodbye’ if you have not been able to do this, particularly for children.
If possible, you could also arrange for it to be placed in the coffin and even ask the funeral director if they can place it into the person’s hand, if you wish. Your loved one will then be touching what you have touched; this can be comforting if you have been unable to hold their hand while they were dying.
If you are not able to get a handwritten note to the funeral director, emailing it to them to print out is another option and will still mean your thoughts are with the person who has died.
Eulogy means ‘high praise’, and is the telling of someone’s life: values, interests and personality. You can do this whether you can be at the funeral or not. When writing it, think about what that person meant to you, what they contributed to your life and the lives of those around them, and memories of them from throughout their life; funny memories can be very welcome on such a difficult day.
If you can’t be at the funeral you could share it by reading it out to people you live with or over the phone or via video call or you could even just email it to other people who knew them. If it is a letter you could also read it to a photo of the person perhaps, if you have one.
People often read poems, extracts of text or prayers that express how they feel, are reflective of the person who died or that meant something to them. You can still choose a reading and share it, in the same way as a eulogy or letter.
You may not want to write something or to read out anything and that is absolutely fine. You can always just take some time to sit with your thoughts and memories, or even to talk to them in your head.
Set time aside for remembrance in your own way. This is particularly helpful if you cannot be at the funeral.
– Look at pictures or mementos that remind you of them
– Play their favourite music
– Light a candle
– Follow any of your own cultural rituals
Ask those who have been able to attend the funeral to call you afterwards so you can hear their account of the event and take the time to share your memories of the person.
Our Willen Hospice Tribute pages are a wonderful way to share memories, thoughts and photos of someone special. You are welcome to use these pages whether your loved one died at the Hospice or elsewhere. They can be especially helpful at this time when people cannot be together as much as we’d like. You can include funeral notices and help people who cannot attend to be in touch.
The tribute is ongoing and you can also invite friends and family to light virtual candles for special occasions and anniversaries, leave messages and even donate to the hospice in memory of your loved one. It is really easy to set up and it only takes a few minutes to do it: visit our tribute page to get started.
Many people chose to ask people to donate to a charity such as Willen Hospice, instead of giving flowers. Find out more about how to do that here.
A leaf on our Tree of Life creates a wonderful lasting tribute. When you dedicate a personalised, engraved leaf, you’ll be creating a special and poignant memory and a place to go, to always remember.
Please visit our bereavement support page for more information about how we can help you at this difficult time.