Elk River, Minn. (WCCO) — Sitting at their kitchen table, Mary and Terry Elliott rekindle warm thoughts of her recently passed father.

“He was a very caring and giving man,” Mary Elliott said.

The family was greatly looking forward to celebrating her dad’s rich life with a “celebration of life” memorial gathering in a few days.

“My brother Danny was going to do a eulogy with all the pictures and have a time of sharing of people’s memories, those with stories to share of him,” Mary Elliott said.

Alex Lutz, 94, passed away on February 24. The family held a private interment soon after, but wanted a gathering for extended family and friends. That was before pandemic put even the end of life on hold.

“Then we kind of thought maybe we should think about another day. Then of course, they closed the restaurant,” Mary Elliott said.

The family planned a memorial gathering on Sunday, March 22 at Rockwood’s in Otsego. Instead, they’ll save the hugs, laughter and tears for later on down the road.

Yet, it’s not just funerals facing delays — churches, synagogues and mosques are putting off weddings and improvising their weekly services.

At First Unitarian Society in Minneapolis, the pastoral staff is now holding virtual Sunday services.

“There was a lot of familiarity that people wanted and appreciated the message and glad we did it. It’s a time people want some routine and they can’t have it,” Reverend Jim Foti said.

So, as long as the current isolation lasts, these basic sacraments will have to wait.

“You’ll remember this funeral because of that, more than you would if it was normal,” Terry Elliott said.

For now, to be celebrated or suffered in the company of a few.

“Different people saying they were looking forward to giving hugs or whatever, so we’ll do it another time,” Mary Elliott said.

All for the betterment and health of the many.

Bill Hudson

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