Due to the current pandemic, many places have enforced stringent quarantine and social distancing measures. Hence, it may be hard to congregate and travel to attend a funeral. For this reason, many bereaved family members are opting for virtual funeral ceremonies to honor their dead loved ones. If you happen to get invited to a virtual funeral, there is important etiquette for you to follow in order to not disrupt the service.
If you are wondering if a lot of rules have changed in the virtual funeral scene compared to stand-in ceremonies, read on. Here are some of the things you need to take note of to save yourself from being that kind of guest. After all, you don’t want to cause distraction and interrupt poignant moments. Remember, a virtual funeral is a special time to honor the memory of the deceased, so remaining on your best behavior is crucial.
Be Mindful of the Time and Don’t Be Late
Some people believe that it’s fashionable to be late. However, that uncanny rule never applies to funeral ceremonies, whether in-person or online. Since the funeral is held in the virtual world, it may be easy to feel worry-free and lax as you don’t need to travel far, drive, and find parking. Despite that, it is still important to set a schedule and be on time in attending the ceremony. For best results, put a calendar reminder on your phone a day before the virtual gathering. You must also put one an hour before the event so you won’t forget.
Remember, it is advisable to turn on your device and run your browser at least 10 minutes before the announced time. You want to give your computer time to load. Moreover, this ensures you will have time to troubleshoot and fix any unforeseen glitches. Certain platforms also require that the host press the accept tab to let anyone into the call. It will be difficult for them to see your join call request once the ceremony has started.
Make It a Priority to Avoid Distractions
Be fully present during the virtual funeral program. Remember, this is your last tribute to the deceased, so giving an hour or two of your time is not a huge imposition. Cast aside social media activity for now, and resist the temptation to multitask while facing the computer. Show up to the event as if you were attending in person – giving the funeral services your full attention. Be an active participant and join in singing the funeral songs and other activities.
Take the Effort Dress Appropriately
Some virtual funerals are interactive, and you may be asked to turn your camera on. Since people will see you on-screen, it is important to dress appropriately. It is preferred that you wear a shirt color that matches the motif (if there is one) attached to your invitation. Otherwise, neutral colors like gray, white, and black are also advisable. Keep a tidy appearance by fixing your hair and applying makeup if you’d like. Give it the same effort and preparation as you would an in-person funeral.
Choose a Background If Needed
Before logging onto the virtual funeral, check your surroundings. Disordered surroundings may distract other attendees from the service. If you cannot clean your background or move to a more clean space in your home, consider using the available backgrounds on-call platforms. It doesn’t need to be fancy as the purpose of such is to obscure clutter.
Keep Yourself on Mute
Unless you are one of the scheduled speakers, keep yourself on mute. Only un-mute yourself when asked to do so. Having your mic on while others do the same will cause interference and audio feedback. If you are speaking, do so slowly and clearly to accommodate people with slow internet speeds. It would be best to use a microphone for clarity, especially if you are one of the special participants. The built-in computer mic is not as vibrant, so using an external one assures that everyone will hear what you say. And, of course, be very careful and thoughtful about the comments you make because things cannot be unsaid and unheard.
Do Not Do Other Things
Since the funeral is conducted virtually, it may be tempting to open up your phone, sneak a snack, or answer notifications on your gadget. Do not do it. As much as possible, be present and attentive to the ceremony as it is the right and respectful thing to do. If you need to answer an urgent call, turn off your mic and video cam before answering.
Remember to Extend Support Even After the Virtual Services
You must keep in mind that grief takes time. Make it a point to check in with the bereaved. Connect via phone call or messenger. You can also make your gestures more personal by sending flowers or food. These small tokens convey your deepest sympathies and support. Though it may be difficult to attend any real-life memorial service for a dear relative or friend, you should not miss the chance to say your final farewell online to get full healing and closure.