SASKATOON -- When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, Jeff Weafer, director at Regina Funeral Home and Cemeteries, says that there were a lot of difficult conversations with families when it came to how they would safely hold a service.

The industry quickly began to adapt. Weafer said that digital services aren’t completely new to the industry, but the amount they are getting used now is, and he said that different funeral homes such as his are spending more time online.

“Back in March when this first began, there were so many unknowns. People were very apprehensive, and when it was limited at that time to 10 individuals, it was very challenging for families,” Weafer said.

Weafer said now people can connect from all over the world to be a part of a service, and he has had families even say they liked having a smaller, more personal in-person gathering with a larger online service.

There is still some uneasiness when it comes to services during the pandemic according to Weafer, but he said families have gone out of their way to thank him after initially showing concern.

Technology isn’t the only change to come out of the pandemic, according to Weafer. He said that with death a more common part of life amid the pandemic, people are now more willing to talk about it, a trend he believes will continue even once the pandemic is over. 

“I think the entire pandemic has caused us as a society to pause and reflect. For the most part we have been a death-denial culture and we don’t really want to talk about that. I think more and more people are having that conversation, and some are taking the step of pre-planning and having those discussions.”