Thanks to the countless lockdowns in Australia, many of us have needed to reschedule, cancel, postpone or delay funeral services for our loved ones. And many people felt like their loved ones didn’t get the farewell they deserved, or that they can’t fully commemorate their life without some kind of service or ceremony.

Delaying a memorial service has become more common for those needing to hold that service at a later date, whether that be from COVID or other reasons. Delaying the service allows you to commemorate and celebrate your loved one at a time that better suits you.

Reasons why you might need to delay a funeral or memorial service. 

Lockdowns and COVID. 

So many of us experienced a loss in the last few years and weren’t able to hold or attend the funeral or memorial, thanks to COVID and lockdowns. It can feel like a missed opportunity to commemorate and celebrate your loved one’s life. 

But that doesn’t mean the opportunity is completely lost. What’s stopping you from holding a funeral or memorial service later on, even if it’s months or years after the loss?

My grandmother passed away right at the start of Melbourne’s long lockdown in 2021. Between restrictions and trying to coordinate a large number of people, her wake wasn’t held until June 2022, ten months later. We also held a commemoration dinner on the one year anniversary of her death. We were still able to have a beautiful celebration of her life, despite being delayed.

It’s easier to organise when your grief is less intense.

Lockdowns and COVID aside, we’re surprised it’s not more common to delay a memorial service. Raw, intense grief can be debilitating at times, and when you’re in the midst of the hardest part of your life, it can then feel overwhelming and impossible to organise a fitting farewell.

Organising or attending a funeral shortly after experiencing a loss can be quite overwhelming for many people.The combination of intense grief and the practical aspects of arranging a funeral can make it difficult to fully comprehend and process the situation.

We know that grief will never truly leave us, but we do learn to live with it and often it is a tiny bit easier as each day comes. Of course, grief is unpredictable and different for everyone. Some days are harder than others and often grief can hit in waves. But waiting to plan a funeral or memorial service when you’ve had some time to take care of yourself can make the process a lot less emotionally taxing. 

Waiting for friends and family to be able to gather.

Many of us have loved ones spread across the country or globe, so it’s tricky to coordinate a funeral or memorial service in short notice while ensuring everyone will be able to attend. 

By delaying the service, it allows time for anyone who wants to attend to make travel arrangements and won’t need to drop everything to get there. 

The positives of a delayed memorial service. 

There are many wonderful reasons why it could be a good idea to delay the service. 

  • If the deceased had specific preferences that went beyond a traditional funeral, you have the opportunity to create a tribute that truly captures their personality and honours their wishes.
  • Following from that, the creativity and flexibility of a delayed memorial service is endless. A memorial service could be a backyard BBQ or a celebration of life at a surf club on the coast. It’s whatever you want it to be.
  • It’s an opportunity to reconnect and support each other through the difficult times.
  • It’s an opportunity to remember your loved one as the incredible person they were, without the acute grief overshadowing the event. 
  • There is absolutely zero time pressure. While you may want to organise the service for a significant day, such as a birthday or death anniversary, there are no rules here. If it’s easier on you, take all the time you need to organise it. These days may also be hard and painful, especially if they are firsts without your loved one. 

Are there obstacles to having a delayed memorial service?

Whilst there might be some potential barriers to organising a delayed memorial service, they can be easy to overcome.

People’s perceptions.

You might be concerned about people’s reactions to holding a delayed memorial months or years later. Well, yes, some people might find it strange, but life has been pretty strange since the start of 2020 and we’ve learnt how to adapt. 

You might also be thinking that no one else cares about holding a delayed service because no one has mentioned it. But remember many of us tend to get uncomfortable when talking about death and grief. Maybe all that’s needed is someone like you to spearhead the conversation and planning, and people will jump on board.

Revisiting intense grief.

A delayed memorial doesn’t need to feel like reopening the old wound that is grief. Assess where you’re at on your own grief journey and use that to guide what kind of service or ceremony you decide to hold. 

A delayed memorial service can be a nice reminder for friends and family that grief is ongoing, and doesn’t just disappear with time. Being surrounded by loved ones is also hugely beneficial to the grieving process, as you can support each other through the difficult times. 

Planning and organising.

It can be hard to know where to begin without the guidance of a celebrant or funeral arranger. The good news is that arrangers are available to help you plan and organise a fitting funeral or memorial service. 

At Bare, our Funeral Services can be held in the weeks, months or even years after a loved one has passed away. Our dedicated funeral directors will guide you through the entire process, from choosing a venue to selecting the right flowers and much more. 

We don’t believe there is a single way to say goodbye to a loved one, which is why our Bare Funerals are flexible to ensure you say your farewell in the way that’s right for you and your loved one. Whether that’s a more traditional funeral service, or a memorial-style service that takes place after a direct cremation.  Click here to learn more or give our friendly customer service team a call on 1800 071 176. We’re always here for you.