LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — For many, a funeral is a ritual and a time to remember those we lost. But the coronavirus outbreak has altered that ritual.
During the pandemic, funeral homes and families are having to make changes when it comes to losing those who are close to us. Funeral homes across the Capital Region are only allowing immediate family during the service. They are limiting one to two hours of visitation and only have 20 people or less in the facility at a time. Many families have been conducting live-streamed memorials.
Kevin Cavanaugh says in his forty years as a funeral director, he has never seen anything like this before.
“So I have been through aids, hepatitis, Creutzfeldt Jakob disease, all different types of contagious diseases, and this has certainly changed the way we do business. It has changed the way families have to react to things and it has made us become more aware of everything we do,” said Kevin Cavanaugh, Director of Dufresne and Cavanaugh Funeral Home.
Suzanne Paulson and her family never thought they would have to say goodbye to their father while wearing masks and gloves. The Paulsons were only allowed to have immediate family at the funeral service.
“This is not very easy and especially when you can’t have that one on one time with the people who care for you the most. It is very challenging,” said Suzanne Paulson, of Averill Park.
Paulson says, before COVID-19, her dad’s last wishes were to have a big celebration.
“This is hard for everybody but we know this is not going to last forever. We will have a party for him in the future and there will be no masks there,” said Suzanne Paulson.
Paulson says not being able to have her whole family and friends by her side is difficult. However, Paulson knows she is not alone.
“The surprising part is that the support is coming in anyway. We are getting cards, flowers and social media has made things much more accessible,” said Suzanne Paulson.
Cavanaugh says for those who cannot say their goodbyes right now, there will be options down the road.
Over the past month, Cavanaugh says none of the lives lost have been related to COVID-19. However, they are prepared for the worst with having appropriate gear such as face shields, and full body gowns to disinfect those before they lay them to rest.
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