In an era of drive-through restaurants, banks and dry cleaners, the funeral industry is taking convenience one step further, offering drive-through visitation for grieving guests who are unable or unwilling to come inside to pay their respects.
Some feel this is a service many who are uncomfortable in funeral homes or who have restricted mobility will appreciate while others believe a drive-by window diminishes the gravity of the moment and is disrespectful to the departed and their family.
According to a recent report in the Huffington Post, the R. Bernard Funeral Home in Memphis, Tennessee is retro-fitting the building they occupy, which was formerly a bank, utilizing the existing drive-through window to allow mourners to pay their respects without getting out of their vehicle.
The owner of the funeral home claims he is responding to the needs of his clientele, many of whom dislike large crowds, have difficulty getting indoors or are fearful of funerals. Bernard also plans to offer live-streaming of funerals for family and friends who cannot attend services in person. Online video streaming of funerals is becoming more common in order to accommodate friends and family who live at a great distance or are unable to travel.
The funeral industry has largely remained unchanged for generations but recently there have been a number of modernizations incorporating long-standing traditions with modern technologies and sensibilities. Online condolence pages have become commonplace as have musical, video and photo tributes. And for those moving away from traditional burial practices, many more natural and environmentally friendly end-of-life choices are becoming widely available.