Mourning Our Losses: Grief After Saying Good-bye
We went to our friend’s funeral yesterday and said our good-bye’s. After our friend’s brave battle with cancer this past year, our friend was laid to a final rest.
It’s so hard to say goodbye. A piece of our world is forever changed because our friend is no longer there. There will always be that empty place were our friend once was.
Grief doesn’t end at the funeral: everyone knows that. As a person that’s gone to several funerals of a loved one, these past five months, I can say grief doesn’t end weeks or months later either. When does it end? I’ve been told never, but the pain of the loss will subside.
Grief after a funeral… You miss them as you park your van. You miss them as you make your supper. You can feel sad and depressed, as this grief clings. You can feel anger and tempers may flare at the littlest upset at home, to people your not really angry with. Then as you have to experience all these emotions it can leave you feeling like a sink drain with no plug in it. Something else you have to do after a funeral too…you have to do something brave… you have to go on living, while your still grieving.
Going to a funeral can be very draining in my experience. I’m talking emotionally draining. I’m talking everything is over and it’s 3pm and I just want to sleep for 16hrs; draining. But I’ve never regret going to a funeral. I can dread the fact I have a funeral (again) to go to but I always leave a funeral feeling relief at having gone. Thinking to myself ”I’m so glad I went and said my final goodbye’s.” So if you have a funeral coming up and your not sure if you should or want to even go; I’ll encourage you to go. Afterwards when all is said and done you wont regret it.
Grieving a death takes strength; because it takes. I feel so tired after grieving on any given day. I don’t think I’m the exception. Grieving is soul cleansing, but emotion draining. It’s me missing this person that is no longer in my life. The randomly crying after remembering a special memory. A laugh at the thought of something they had once said. If you are grieving now after the funeral is done I encourage you keep on; Laughing and crying about all the special times you did share with each other.
Giving myself over to say the words that it takes to talk through my grief is something I love to do with my man. We talk about the shock of receiving news that our friend died. We talk about the events leading up to the funeral. We talk through the funeral. We talk on the way home from the funeral. It’s not a constant steady stream of chatter, but more like an open dialogue that invites the sharing of memories and thoughts about the friend that we are grieving. To have someone to talk to as you grieve is very important. Even if you are an introvert, I encourage you to talk to your spouse or call a friend or make an appointment with a psychiatrist. Talking about your loss is a relief.
Being realistic in talking about the person that’s died is a relief too. Because someone has passed away does not make them suddenly an angel. While all aspects of someones character is not perfect, most of us have an idea of each others glaring flaws. When someone has passed we don’t need to pass judgement on them or talk about them like their a god. Be realistic in your talking. Expound upon their virtues and the beauty that they brought to your world. Talk about the good things they used to say, and the good work that they used to do. I think we all cringe at the “angel” or “judgement” speeches that can be said at or after someones funeral. Break the cycle by not taking part of either speeches.
Lastly, grief can reside in regret. After our friend’s funeral I was thinking, regretting, and grieving opportunities that I had missed to bless that family this past year, but didn’t. Regret can sink in and make an unwelcome home at the best of times. I’ll try to forgive myself and let go of the things that I should/could have done and said, but first I will mourn over what should have been, so I can move on.
Grief after a funeral lingers. I will embrace that lingering. I will leave photos around and remember the good times and cry more over my losses this past week. I will talk about them and share the good and real memories. I will be a bit angry, and depressed too. If this is you too this week, you are not alone.
I take comfort that I’m not alone in Jesus, as well. Though He can’t take away my grief completely, He’s promised to be there right beside me grieving too. I have a peace that He is my hearts cry away.
“ I call to God, I cry to God to help me. From His place He hears my call, my cry brings me right into His presence.” Psalm 18:6 The Message
By: Sharon Schuler
P.S. Song of the Week: tying into Psalm 18:6