Why Funerals are for the Living

By: Joseph Greenidge
Monday, May 13, 2019

Regardless of where you’re from, your cultural background or your belief system, losing someone you love is never easy. The grieving process -- and all of the complex emotions that go along with it -- can be challenging and confusing.

When in mourning, it’s thought that most people experience what’s come to be known as the seven stages of grief: shock and disbelief, denial, anger and bargaining, depression, loneliness and depression, reconstruction and moving through, and finally, acceptance. It’s not a simple process, and while there’s no “right” way to grieve, some find a funeral is the starting point, so to speak, of the sometimes long road to healing.

Whether you’re coordinating a funeral for a loved one or are planning ahead for your own, you may find yourself wondering whether or not to go forward with this emotional event. Here’s why you should, for the ones that are left behind following someone’s death:

It Allows Attendees to Celebrate a Life

While funerals are an opportunity to grieve, and to come together during a time of loss and grief, they are also a time to celebrate the life of the person that has passed away. The focus should be on the legacy of your loved one, and what they brought to the world during their time here.

Whether you take an opportunity to celebrate your loved one’s passions and hobbies, create a memory board of photos so guests can gather around them to reminisce, or leave a guest book for guests to sign, focusing on their life -- instead of their passing -- can be a cathartic experience for everyone.

A Funeral Offers Group Support for Those Left Behind

We are rarely prepared for the intensity of the emotions that come along with death, and when you suffer a loss, those emotions can be debilitating.

They can result in loss of sleep, depression, insomnia, loss of appetite, and unbearable feelings of anger, bitterness and anxiety. Grief is not a process one should experience alone.

With others, there is companionship and understanding that can be found during such a trying time.

Funerals are a Safe Place to Express Grief

Not everyone understands grief and the debilitating emotions that surface during a time of such loss. A funeral setting, however, allows one to openly express his or her emotions in an environment where others are riding the wave of the same feelings.

Publicly expressing our grief also helps to avoid what’s been coined as Complicated Grief, known by professionals as Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder.

According to the Mayo Clinic, in complicated grief, “painful emotions are so long lasting and severe that you have trouble recovering from the loss and resuming your own life.”

Expressing grief surrounded by the love and support of others can help to avoid this heightened state of mourning that halts the healing process.

Resuming Life After Loss

Resuming life after the loss of a loved one can be complicated and heartbreaking, but a funeral is a crucial first step in moving forward.

Take the funeral as an opportunity to lovingly remember the person you knew in life, and to give yourself permission to properly say goodbye to their physical presence.

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