Virtual memorials: Coronavirus changes the way we grieve

Coronavirus

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA)- The coronavirus has changed almost every aspect of our lives, even the way we grieve. 

Social distancing has restricted large gatherings, meaning funerals will have reduced attendance but at Curlew Hills Memory Gardens in Palm Harbor, they’re offering a solution: Virtual memorial services. 

“With the coronavirus, it has made it easier for us to offer it to people and for people to use it,” said Curlew Hills Memory Gardens president and CEO Keenan Knopke.

Two cameras in the chapel offer a birds eye view of a funeral service, allowing you to say goodbye to your loved one without leaving home. 


WHAT TO KNOW:

  • Florida reporting 5,704 cases and 71 deaths
  • Gov. Ron DeSantis holding off on issuing ‘stay at home’ order
  • Pinellas and Hillsborough counties implementing ‘safer-at-home’ orders
  • Travelers from NY tri-state area and New Orleans coming to Florida must quarantine for 14 days under new executive order
  • Florida schools closed through at least May 1

“It was made available to our industry 8 or 9 years ago. During that time, it was costly and the technology wasn’t very good. It just didn’t work for all practical purposes. Fast forward to a couple years ago, the technology was redone and now it works very well,” Knopke said. “It’s easy, they simply need to have a laptop, cell phone, regular computer and you can click and watch.”   

Laura Mosny used the live streaming service for her late husband Dennis Mosny, who passed away after a medical emergency in January. 

“It was really before the covid-19 pandemic blew up,” Mosny said. 

Mosny steamed her husband’s memorial service in February and says while the grieving process is never convenient, the virtual service is. 

“We had guest from up north who could not travel due to health reasons of their own. It was very easy for me to go back and re-watch the service. I watched it several times and was able to see things that I didn’t see and pick up and pick up on things I didn’t see the first time,” Mosny said. 

Knopke tells WFLA.com that the live streaming service is free and available to download. He says his ultimate goal is to keep the families they serve safe and healthy. 

“What we are doing and what everyone else in our industry is doing, or at least trying to do is find a better way to serve those families that they have had an honor and privilege to serve all those years. The family is what it is all about.” 

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