Hospice center, funeral home getting creative to support grieving families

Posted at 1:23 PM, May 05, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Families go through many major life moments together and that sadly includes the loss of a loved one. That moment has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a hospice care center, Bluegrass Care Navigators knows about goodbyes. Since social distancing guidelines have limited the number of people who can attend a funeral service, some families aren’t able to get the goodbye they wanted. So, staff members created hundreds of compassion bags to support families going through the grieving process.

“As a culture, I think we use rituals to celebrate all kinds of life transitions, like weddings, a birth of a baby and most definitely, the death of a loved one. So, we wanted to do something,” said Integrative Medicine Program Coordinator Whitney Clay.

Inside each bag, there are items to use in a personal ritual, like a candle, a poem and flower seeds. There’s also information on alternatives to a funeral.

“You could hang a wreath on your door or maybe in a public place or maybe at the cemetery,” said Clay. “Invite people to tie a colored ribbon onto it as a way to just show you that they were thinking about you and offer their support.”

Kerr Brothers Funeral Home also deals with goodbyes. Acting Manager Virginia Kerr Zoller says their services have been limited to ten people.

“That has presented its own challenges, because people want to be there. They want to show support,” said Zoller.

The funeral home found creative ways to get more loved ones involved.

“We set up a livestream. We use Facebook Live. It’s the easiest way that we could get out to everybody that would want to join, but I’ve had families that have gone on Zoom calls on their cell phone as we’ve gone out to a grave site service,” said Zoller.