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GRIEF & HEALING

When someone we loved dies, we must acknowledge the reality and the finality of the death if we are to move forward with our grief. The first step is to acknowledge the death with our minds, then over the course of the following days and weeks, and with the help and understanding of those around us, we begin to acknowledge the reality of the death in our hearts.

Moving towards the pain of the loss.

As our acknowledgment of the death progresses, we begin to embrace the pain of the loss this is important if the bereaved family are to heal. Healthy grief means expressing our painful thoughts and feelings, and traditional funeral ceremonies allow us to do just that. Funerals also provide us with an accepted venue for our painful feelings. They are perhaps the only time and place, in fact, during which we as a society condone such openly outward expression of our sadness.

Remembering the person who died.

To heal in grief, we must shift our relationship with the person who died from one of physical presence to one of memory. Funeral ceremonies encourages us to begin this shift, for it provides a natural time and place for us to think about the moments we shared-good and bad-with the person who died. At traditional funerals, the eulogy attempts to highlight the major events in the life of the deceased and the characteristics that he or she has most prominently displayed. This is helpful to mourners, for it tends to prompt more intimate, individualized memories.

Searching for reasons.

When someone we loved dies, we naturally seek to find reasons why they had passed by asking ourselves. Why did this person die? Why now? Why this way? Why does it have to hurt so much? What happens after death? To heal in grief, we must explore these types of questions if we are to become reconciled to our grief. In fact, we must first ask these “why” questions to decide why we should go on living before we can ask ourselves how we will go on living. This does not mean we must find conclusive answers, it only emphasizes the fact that we need the opportunity to go through the thought process.

Receiving support from our neighbours.

Traditional Funerals are a public means of expressing our beliefs and feelings about the death of someone we loved. In fact, funerals are the public venue for offering support to others and being supported in grief, both at the time of the funeral and into the future. Funerals let us physically demonstrate our support, by embracing, to touching and comforting. This physical show of support is one of the most important healing aspects of funeral ceremonies. Funerals make a social statement that says, “Come and support me” and those who choose not to have a funeral are saying, “I don’t need your support.”

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