Our lives are shaped in so many ways, impacted by many things: special people, special moments, incredible accomplishments and unique experiences. School years, graduations – your first job… falling in love, getting married – having kids….
Funerals are another important life event in any family, to be recognised and celebrated.
Often conceived as being outdated and unnecessary - funerals are actually important rituals which help us to acknowledge death, and remember the person who has died and what they have achieved and lived during their lifetime. Funerals help us to say goodbye and support one another - and help us to acknowledge the reality that someone in our life has died.
When we experience the death of someone we love, a funeral assists in a number of ways:
The need to acknowledge the reality of the death.
First you need to acknowledge the death in your mind.
Then, over time, you will acknowledge it in your heart.
A funeral service helps you understand in your heart that your loved one is gone.
The need to move towards the pain of loss.
Healthy grief means expressing your painful thoughts and feelings, and a funeral allows you to do this.
The need to remember the person who died.
To heal, you must shift your relationship with the person who has died from one of physical presence to one of memory.
The need to develop a new self identity.
You may be a mother, father, daughter, son, sister, brother or friend. So when someone close to you dies, your self identity changes. A funeral can help you begin the process of developing a new self identity.
The need to receive ongoing support from others.
Funerals are a public means of expressing your feelings about death and they are a public setting for offering support in grief.
The above information has been drawn from the work of Alan D Wolfelt PhD, who is a respected author, educator and consultant to the funeral industry.