Funerals Are Significant Therapeutic Events of Expression & Introspection
How Funerals & Viewings Help Us Heal.
Funerals and viewings help to confirm the reality of death and loss; they provide a climate for the expression of emotions; they allow the sorrows of one to become the sorrows of many; they are one of the few times the expression of love is given and not expected in return; they are a vehicle for the community to pay its respects; they encourage the affirmation of religious faith or individual spirituality & beliefs. They are a declaration that a life has been lived, as well as a sociological statement that death has occurred; they help begin a Healthy Coping Process for those who have suffered a loss; and they help us to embrace, find, or create personal meaning in a time of change...
Grief Does Not End After the Funeral
For those who have experienced a loss, coping with grief can be a long and difficult journey. Each person's grief experience will be unique. There is no "perfect", "right" or "correct" way to process a loss.
So, how do we heal? The ability for you to "make real" the death of a loved one, strive for acceptance, and create personal meaning; is what healing is all about. This is not done by repressing feelings associated with grief or avoiding situations and objects that remind you of someone you've lost; or avoiding viewings. We heal by letting ourselves experience the feelings associated with grief. The healing process does not occur over night. It may take weeks, months, years, or even a life time- depending on the person, relationship, and the circumstances surrounding the loss. We find that "Time does not heal, but we have the ability to heal over time". One doesn't just "get over" a loss, and acceptance is not always an absolute. Your loss and your grief will never magically disappear; but you will learn to live with it over time.
We Create Honoring and Healing Experiences
It's All About the Relationship
Funerals and Viewings are events that help to initiate the healing process and honor a life that has been lived. Honoring a Life is a true expression of love of the deceased, for you, and for others who are left behind to grieve a loss. It affirms the love that binds you, and continues to bind you all together. Celebrating the unique life of your loved one gives you, your family, and acquaintances a time to focus on the special relationship that all of you value and cherish... In addition to giving you an opportunity to say "good bye".
We look forward to helping you create a tribute, to celebrate that bond, and honor a precious life. The staff of Boston Funeral Service will help guide you and your family in arranging a meaningful event or ceremony. We can make suggestions to enhance your tribute ideas. Together, we will create a fitting and memorable experience. This meaningful event or ceremony can be anything you wish it to be: simple or elaborate, traditional or unique. No matter how it's tailored, creating and experiencing a meaningful funeral tribute is an important step in coping with your loss.
You Can Never Go Back and Do it Over
Some say it’s harsh to remind you of this, but we know we must. We want you to honor your loved one in a way that allows you to look back, years from now, and be thankful that you did the best you could to honor their life. Creating a ceremony or event that calls together the hearts and minds of all who loved them, is a gift to everyone involved. -A gift of memories, a gift of healing...a truly priceless gift of a peace-of-mind.
The Importance of Viewing
What is a Viewing? A viewing is a formal or informal, public or private event of physically seeing and being present with your loved one, dear friend, or respected acquaintance after their death. Viewings usually take place immediately or a few days after a death; but they can also take place a week or more following a loss.
When you experience a sudden loss, life seems to move from the "real" to the "surreal". In order to cope, it is recommended you need to make extra time for yourself from our fast paced society to begin adjusting to what has happened. It is important to simply "be in the moment" and "make real" what has just happened.
For those of who have experienced the long road of caring for a loved, you may feel "burn out" and your experience of loss may seem to be a release. -A release of seeing your loved one suffer, or a release of having to over extend yourself as a caretaker. The feeling of release and feeling burnout are a normal grief reaction but can lead to guilt later in one's life. Viewings help us to normalize these feelings. Viewings may help you to see and be with your loved one in a peaceful atmosphere. The experience of witnessing a loved one's death is not always settling.
Viewings: Common False Reassurances and Maladaptive Personal Platitudes
"I want to remember them the way they were"
You will always remember your loved one the way they were in life & you will always remember special moments... even if you participate a viewing. Your memories are dear to you and they should be cherished. But, viewings are about closure, coping, and adjusting to change... they are about facing your grief... they are finding or making personal meaning; and emotionally relocating your loved one. They are about saying "good bye" to the hands that helped you; to the arms that held you, and to your loved one's smiles which expressed thier love.
"By not viewing, I can avoid the pain of loss"
You will always feel the sting of loss. You can never avoid, but only delay, postpone, or displace the feelings associated with grief by repressing them. Repressed feeling can evoke maladaptive behavior and can even cause an unanticipated catharsis of emotions when least expected.
"I don't want people gawking at me when I'm dead"
Viewings are for the living. They create an atmosphere where family and friends can "offer or pay one's last respects". For those who attend, they do so to offer comfort not only to the immediate survivors but also for themselves. The act of "offering or paying" one's last respect is a statement that expresses: "I cared about you and care for your family". It also expresses that I care about myself and want to make real the death of someone close to me.
"Grief is NOT a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, and is the price you pay for LOVE. The only cure for grief is to GRIEVE." -Earl Grollman
We are concerned about how you are coping with your loss and grief. We know that grief is a journey that takes time to reconcile with. Even though feelings of sadness and despair are difficult, patience is a virtue. If you just need to talk or have questions or concerns, we would like to take the time to help. We are more than just counsel to your grief. We are a friendly face and a compassionate ear. Please feel free to call upon us.
We have listed some additional resources below that might be of interest.
CENTER FOR LOSS & LIFE TRANSITION
NATIONAL HOSPICE & PALLIATIVE CARE ORGANIZATION