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Monday, 20 June 2011

Give grief a chance - The United Church Observer

Give grief a chance - The United Church Observer

I would recommend this article to anyone wrestling with issues around grief and funerals. I have been to some horrific funerals, used to lambaste the congregation with threats of eternal damnation. I have also been to funerals in which lives were celebrated and losses grieved, all at the same time. It seems to me that our society is always ready to deny us the space and time to grieve. If we give away our one permitted arena, the funeral, we risk losing even that small opportunity.
That being said, however, as agonizing as those first few days following a death may be, our deep grief does not usually begin until about six months after the funeral. It takes that long for us to fully realize that our loved one is gone. Until then, each time we walk through the door, or hear the phone ring, we still have that moment of thinking, "Oh, that's probably..." And then our hearts die a little more, as the hole inside us gets bigger. When we finally realize that our loved one is gone, the work of deep grief begins.

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate your comment about the deeper grief that comes 6 months after the death of a loved one. So often, we are prepared for the dramatic grief that comes in the days just after the death of a parent/child/dear one: there is a great deal of latitude of expression allowed; friends are supportive and understanding.... but 6 months or a year later, the world has moved on... and a deeper grief hits. The grief is made even more acute because nobody else wants to talk about her/him any more and they worry that you do. As a supportive friend and/or pastor the best that I've been able to offer is to have lunch/dinner/coffee and allow my friend to talk about the one she/he is missing so much... just to talk and repeat and talk some more.. without my saying "you'll get over it"; "time to move on" or, even, "have you thought about counselling?" Very often, people simply need time to embrace their loss and figure out how they are going to live now.. and most often, they do it... but it does take time and patient support from others.