Tuesday, August 23, 2016


     Do not underestimate the value of your visit to the bereaved.  It means more to the mourners than they can possibly express.  With death come grief.  The family grieves for its lost one and for themselves.  The sorrow of separation is evident.  You lighten the sorrow by sharing in it.  Your visit will help them get started on the road back.
     The emotional well-being of survivors depends on the acknowledgement of the death, not the denial of it.  That is why the funeral and visitation are so important.  Painful as they may be, they confirm the fact that the death has occurred.
     Going to the visitation and/or the funeral can also be good in many ways for the person doing it.  Facing the fact of death when it happens to others can be important in shaping the values in one's own life.  It helps prepare for a future death in the family.  It shows how to accept this same kind of community support when death occurs.

Friday, August 19, 2016


     Time is a very important aspect of grief work.  The recovery back to creative, healthy living is only through the painful process of grief itself.  There are no shortcuts.
     Because of the multitude of factors that affect the way an individual will react to grief, there can be no cookbook approach to helping the bereaved nor can there be a set timetable for the grief process.
     It is a mistake, however, to think that time alone will necessarily heal the pain of grief.  It is how time is used that will be a factor in determining how long the pain remains acute, whether it is even fully experienced, and how long it it will take for recovery.  Grief is an active, not a passive process.  The course of normal grief depends on the ability of the bereaved to do the grief work necessary to separate themselves from that which was lost and reinvest themselves elsewhere.

Thursday, August 11, 2016


     Financial planning involves the consideration of many contingencies.  One which is often neglected, is the prudent planning of funeral costs.
     Consideration of funeral costs in advance is certainly not a new idea.  Many individuals consider what is wanted in the way of funeral service and share these wishes with their families in some way.  With the help of an informed funeral director, you'll know that your wishes will be carried out in ways that are financially sound and truly helpful to your family.
     Contact the funeral director you have chosen.  Discuss your concerns with him or her and talk about preferences with your family.  There are more decision to be made than you perhaps have anticipated; decisions which you can spare your survivors from having to make during time of need.  Pre-arranging funerals is a sensitive and practical way to plan for your family.

Thursday, July 21, 2016


     A child should be allowed to remain a child even if there has been a tragic loss in the family.  Of course, when someone in the family dies, everyone else has to pitch in and assume some of the tasks and responsibilities that the deceased once had.  However, don't make a ten-year old or even a fourteen-year-old be the "mommy" or the "man of the house".  They should know that more is expected of them in terms of household chores, but they should know that it is okay to be ten or fourteen.  The experience will have helped them mature a lot, anyway.  Don't force it further by denying them the opportunity to still be a child.
     Don't be afraid to talk about the deceased with your child,and let them share memories.  Let children know that it is good to remember people after death, that we can treasure the lessons and joy they brought us for all our lives.  Even the process of sharing these insights will foster a closer relationship among the survivors.

Friday, July 8, 2016


     Almost everyone experiences some degree or guilt when a person close to them dies.  Most guilt feelings are not based on fact, but grieving persons don't always think very clearly.  Many guilt feelings relate to things people feel they should have done or said while the loved one was alive - a promised trip, a letter unsent, a word of love left unspoken.  The feeling is that the deceased left the world unaware of those feelings or was disappointed with the grieving survivor.
     This type of guilt feeling is practically useless.  It will not bring back the deceased.  There will not be another opportunity to correct the situation.  Guilt is a wasteful expenditure of emotional energy.  However, knowing that doesn't necessarily make guilt any easier to deal with.  The lesson for us all is to do and say NOW those things that are important so that someday we won't have to be sorry for not having done and said them.

Monday, June 20, 2016


     For many families, planning for funerals is not a subject that comes up easily.  Many people die unexpectedly, making the subject academic.  The question then is what kind of a funeral should a person choose when the last wishes of the deceased are not known?
     Communication can be the key.  Discuss the matter with friends and relatives.  Perhaps someone does recall the deceased having made some comments, even humorous, about the kind of funeral and interment he or she would have liked.
     What were the tastes and tendencies of the deceased?  Would he or she have wanted a lavish funeral?  Would he or she have enjoyed having many people attend or just a few close friends?  Would flowers be appropriate?  How about religious conviction and affiliation?  Then make your decision as best you can, based on your knowledge of the deceased, and let the matter rest without guilt or second thoughts.

Friday, June 10, 2016


     Sometimes the loss of a loved one can bring most overwhelming pain, the kind that can barely be endured.  It may seem impossible to ever really recover from that loss, and yet most people do.  Unless the grief becomes pathological or obsessive, somehow it does abate.  No matter how intense, no matter how many mornings one wakes up feeling as depressed as the day before, time will come when the pain eases.
     Of course, the sadness never disappears entirely, not if the person was much cherished.  It is hard to imagine the parents of a deceased child ever ceasing to feel sorrow for their loss.  It is hard to imagine how the survivor of a happy marriage could ever stop missing the lost mate, no matter how many years they are separated by death.  Most of us, however, do come to terms with bereavement pain and do reach an ACCOMMODATION with grief.  We may never forget the loss, but we can recall it with some equanimity.