The events and ceremony surrounding a loss are as fundamental, innate and hardwired into our existence as the emotion of grief.
Many cultures and spiritual belief systems approach death in different ways. The funeral can be a celebration of life to support the family left behind, an important spiritual ritual to send the deceased on to a better place, or a combination of those practical and enigmatic concerns.
The common denominator is grief. Grief is an emotional state that is the downside of love. Greater love is greater loss. Bereavement is grief gone public and the process of reconciling permanent loss. There is no such thing as closure; everything is forever changed.
There are fundamental principals of this process. If addressed properly reconciliation can begin. Derived from the works of clinical thanatologist Dr. Alan Wolfeldt some tenants to address:
1)Realize. Death is permanent and the shock and disbelief surrounding a loss, particularly a traumatic or sudden loss can arrest the bereavement process. Viewing of the body can be an important part of this realization process for many. This is true even if cremation is the disposition of choice.
2) Remember. Bring forth the most vibrant memories and convert them from an active state to lasting and permanent recollections. Photos, music, and personal items at the service make it unique and personal.
3) Socialize. Gather the support system that will carry you from now into the future. Introduce your new social status to the community. You are now perhaps a widow instead of a wife.
4) Express. Now is the best time to find a way to express your sadness; cry, scream, ruminate. Society does not provide many opportunities to express grief. Even funeral and hospice workers are constrained to the typical three day bereavement leave. We all know that that is never enough.
Bellamy can be contacted at www.villagecremations.com