Family consultations can still be done in person with Gov. Codey, a third-generation funeral director, or in real time over a video conferencing platform.

The pandemic changed the way we live.

It also changed the way we celebrate lives.

For Codey & Mackey Funeral Home in Boonton, those changes have led to an improved and more inclusive experience for families and friends.

“We’re a lot better at being flexible with our families as far as making arrangements,’’ says Kelly Carey, who oversees operations at Codey & Mackey, as well as Codey Funeral Home in Caldwell.

Carey came to Codey & Mackey shortly before the pandemic, when funeral arrangements were almost exclusively made in person. Things quickly changed, however, and Carey responded with changes at both funeral homes, using her years of administrative experience in other industries. She deftly started modernizing and simplifying operations without losing the personal touch that has defined the two funeral homes for generations.

She explains that technology actually has created a warmer, more personal approach to funeral planning by allowing for organized expression and streamlining of details that previously could add stress to grieving families.

“Before the pandemic you either came in or we went to you, which is still the case if we need to,” Carey says. “But because of the pandemic, we can do everything electronically, too. So, if you’re not comfortable coming in, or you're sick or you're far away, now we can do everything on the phone and electronically to make arrangements.’’=

That last aspect is particularly helpful in an era when families can be separated by miles and time zones like never before. Phone apps like FaceTime, Zoom and Microsoft Teams allow more family members to be involved in the funeral plans and life celebration of their loved one.

It has been a rare positive offshoot from the pandemic, which changed the way many people said goodbye to loved ones. Services were restricted to immediate family members, and hugging and other forms of comfort — even being physically close to someone — were discouraged for health reasons. 

“Even the cemeteries had restrictions as to how many people could be there and for how long, all kinds of things,’’ Carey says. “So, it really diminished the honoring of your loved one.’’

That is no longer the case, and both funeral homes have returned to hosting large, traditional viewings, services and burials as requested.

“Some people are still concerned about Covid, so we adjust as needed,’’ Carey says. “Some families want people to wear a mask, especially during certain times of year when we’re all inside. But for the most part, things are back to normal. 

“I think people are embracing the fact that, with caution, they can honor their loved ones in the traditional way — with the support of their family and their community, the way they think their loved one deserves.’’

The team at Codey & Mackey Funeral Home is happy to explain the services and trends for funerals and related services. Just call (973) 334-5252 24 hours a day.