The loss of a loved one is always tough! We’re seldom really ready to lose someone we love even when we know they are suffering. We may know in our heads that it is their time to leave us, but it’s so much harder to feel that in our hearts. And when the times comes, even if it was expected, it can be so difficult to accept and adjust to.
There was a time when funerals meant that family, friends and colleagues, past and present, would come together to pay their last respects, share fond memories and celebrate all that was good about our loved one’s life. It was an opportunity to gain new insights into their life from people who knew them at different times in their life and in a variety of situations. The celebration of their life without them being there, was for many, the beginning of the process of acceptance.
But now we can only have a very small gathering to say our goodbyes and although this can feel very personal, we do not have the opportunity to really celebrate who they were with most of the people who knew and cared about them. We look forward to a time when we will be able to have our celebration and share the day with so many of those who knew them, but for now that can only be a promise we make, rather than something that is fully planned with a date and time to look forward to.
Grief can fill us with sadness and some feel they should never smile or laugh again. We feel guilty if we laugh or find ourselves enjoying a moment, but we need that to help us to keep going. Spending all our time in that deep well of sadness does not do us good. We will spend most of our time there in the early days, only popping out to smile and catch our breath very briefly, but as time passes we spend less time in that well of sadness and a little more out in the fresh air of life.
It’s important for us to talk about our lost loved one. To share memories with each other and yes, some of them will make us sad, but others will make us smile. So often people don’t want to upset anyone by talking about their loss or to let others see if they get upset and so they can become a subject that is never discussed. Don’t we want to keep their memory alive? Or do we want to pretend they never were? When a loved one dies you don’t have to always be strong, but it does help if you support one another, and talking about them and sharing memories is a good way to do that.