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Remember, it's also about you

Ask the Director

When we lose a loved one, we often want to make sure that our final farewells encompass all that they were and all that they loved. We feel pressed to make sure that everything they wanted is brought to the service, memorial or celebration of life. We forget that we, too, are a part of this farewell.

It is important to remember that these events are not only to honor those who have passed, but to bring some level of closure within ourselves. Under the pressure of making sure that everything is lined up just right for the service, we sometimes forget about our own grief, or feel that our grief is secondary to honoring our loved one. This, believe it or not, is entirely false. Grief and honor hold equal status in these times.

Many times, I have heard families discuss wanting a viewing, a chapel service, or a celebration of life, but then turn around and choose the most simplistic route because their loved one was a simple person and may not approve of it. Here lies the conundrum: Do we go simple to honor our loved one? My responding question: How would YOU feel at the end of it all? Do you feel like you have closure? Do you feel you truly honored the life of your loved one?

You need to understand that you matter, too. You are the one still here, hurting in your grief. This is just as much about you, and those with you, as it is about your loved one who has passed on. I have heard families stating that they wish they had done more than a simple cremation, more than a direct burial or more than a simple ceremony.

I get it, sometimes finances can be burdensome. Funerals are not cheap, and with the markets ever increasing, so too do the expenses of funerals. There are many ways to keep expenses low while fully honoring your loved one, yourself and those who were near and dear to the recently departed. Asking your church, or a local church to hold a celebration of life after a cremation or burial is one way of doing this. Yet another would be to simply hold a celebration of life in your own backyard. If you’re more traditional and finances aren’t such a burden, use the funeral homes chapel, or the celebration of life center if they have one.

Not allowing yourself, family and friends to have the opportunity to say farewell in a service or celebratory way, can leave one feeling like something was left unsaid or undone. There is a powerful healing element to these events, one you can reflect on with a thankful heart.

Jason Wheeler is the Managing Funeral Director (FDR4671) with Wood Family Funeral Service (CRM927).