During the coronavirus pandemic, families have been isolated inside their homes and observing social distancing guidelines that include restrictions on religious ceremonies, even funerals. Families who have lost loved ones during this time have been forced to make the difficult decision to either wait to hold memorial services until it's "safe", or pay respects now, virtually. Surprisingly, time capsules have become a welcome part of online funeral services, where cards, emails, photos and letters collected from relatives and friends can be featured during a livestream funeral service on social media or web conferencing apps.
Families can store the condolences in a keepsake time capsule to be opened years from now, or display its contents at a more traditional memorial service, after the pandemic. Adrian Barrett, vice-president of the Australian Funeral Directors Association says finding new ways to help grieving families cope with their loss is essential now. Barrett told theguardian.com, “All the things we know about funerals and how they can help that transition in people’s lives when they’ve lost someone have been taken away.” Barrett adds, "It means we have to come up with alternatives to help people in that transition.”
Bruce Likly of funeral webcam service, TribuCast told the New York Times that in this new era of distancing ourselves when people want - and need - to connect in times of grief, high-tech creativity is providing some comfort. Likly says, “People grieve so deeply when they lose a loved one. That grief is often amplified when they can’t get to the service." He added, “To be included in it is incredibly powerful.”