Learning to embrace grief and draw new strength and meaning from it.



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Have You Ever Been Part of a Funeral?

by Reuben M. Chow, Living-With-Grief.com

Have you ever attended a funeral? I’m quite sure you have.

But have you ever participated in one?

The experience is an entirely different one.

For the former, you may or may not have enjoyed a meaningful relationship with the person lying in the coffin. You may not even know him or her.

When you attend a funeral, you get to the venue, you do what you need to do there, and then you pack up and go home.

On the other hand, when it’s your loved one who has just passed on, you are part of the entire proceedings. You had to arrange the whole funeral procedures. You probably played a part in picking what clothes the deceased would be wearing, as well as which coffin he or she would be lying in.

You also had to help decide on how the obituary would look like in the local newspapers, and what it would say. You picked the scripture verses, the hymns to be sung, and the date of the funeral.

If you have ever arranged a funeral, or funerals, for your loved ones, you would know exactly what I mean. It’s an extremely surreal experience.

And that’s only the physical aspect of the funeral.

What’s more the telling is the relationship that you shared with the person who has just moved on to another world. It’s utterly unique, and no one, and I mean no one, can ever share or understand it.

The jokes you shared, the conversations you had, all the common memories which filled both your lives, the places you’ve been to, the disagreements you’ve had, the forgiveness you have bestowed on each other… and more… these are all unique to you and the deceased.

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is an amazingly surreal experience. In a way, what makes it so much harder to bear is the fact that it is, in many ways, a lonesome journey.

But then again, so is life in general. And, the thing about journeys, is that they always come with opportunities for growth, the chance to build new beginnings and reach better destinations, as well as much beautiful scenery. Be sure not to miss those.


Comment from kayt smith
Time: December 4, 2009, 6:26 am

i just lost my father in march of this year and three months later lost my mother. they were not only my parents but my closest and best friends. i read what was written on the web site but it didnt seem to help me much. i am desperately trying to find something that will help give me a reason to make it through this period of my life and any help or advise would be very welcome.

Comment from Reuben @ Living-With-Grief.com
Time: March 29, 2010, 7:45 am

Hi Kayt,

I apologize for the late reply. It must have been massively painful for you to have gone through two big losses so close to each other. The truth is, even though I’ve lost both my parents myself, our experiences are probably very unique, and no one will really know how you are feeling.

And it’s also likely that nothing that I or anyone else can say will make you feel any better. When either of my parents had just passed on, nothing anyone said to me really made much difference. I could hear the words, but there wasn’t much impact. It was only much later, weeks or months later, as my life settled down and my mind became more receptive, that some of those words began to sink in and become more meaningful. Some things also began to make more sense, and dots were connected.

Thus, based on that, all I can say to you is – hang on in there. Keep busy. Do happy stuff. When you are ready, after having grieved and learnt to let go, discard unhappy things and memories. Learn to embrace change. Establish new routines and embark on new adventures. Seek new meaning and find new happiness. Things will, I firmly and sincerely believe, get better, no matter how bad you feel right now, as long as you remain open and receptive to it.

Take care, and I wish you all the best.

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