The coronavirus has many families putting events like weddings on hold because of new restrictions on crowd sizes. Those restrictions are in place for funerals, too.
After a family suffered a loss, the town of Rugby pulled together to show their support…even when they can’t all be together.
When Stacy Jaeger passed away last Friday, her family and friends thought that would be the worst of their heartbreak.
“When the family came in to make arrangements, it was really hard to tell them that our funerals have to be limited,” said Hallie Anderson, of Anderson Funeral Home.
Since the spread of COVID-19, the state is advising against gatherings over 10 people…which can be difficult during a funeral.
Anderson added, “The funeral home staff and I were just thinking what can we do to make this special to show that the community is out here, we haven’t forgotten. We are all thinking of you.”
Anderson thought of an idea: to have everyone show up to celebrate the life of a person who touched everyone, all while following social distancing guidelines.
“When the idea came to line the streets, it started off kind of small, with the thought that it would just be a few friends, but Stacy was just so loved in the community that it just quickly spread like wildfire,” said Jennifer Zachmeier, a family friend.
Monday afternoon as the Jaeger family drove toward the funeral, they were greeted by community members and law enforcement agencies showing that even during hard times, they would find a way to be there, as Stacy was for them.
“When I had cancer and moved back to Rugby, Stacy was always bringing things over. Food for family, cookies and of course just talking to me and helping me through things,” said Heather Hjelden, classmate of Stacy.
The service for Stacy was live-streamed so family and friends could watch from home. The family will have a traditional service once the gathering ban is lifted.
But until then, their community will be there to uplift them even if it is from a distance.
Staff at the funeral home say as long as the COVID-19 pandemic is going on, they’ll be looking at different options on how they can do services and include as many people as possible.