The Herald Bulletin

March 1, 2014

Rob Loose: After loved one dies, don't forget the grieving process

By Rob Loose
For The Herald Bulletin

— Grief is a healthy and necessary process — and as much as you might like to, you can’t skip it.

However, each and every person deals with grief differently. Some folks wear their heart on their sleeves and let their emotions flow, while others resolve to keep their chin up and suppress their grief.

Why would anyone push down these feelings of sorrow after losing a loved one? There are many different reasons.

Some are trying to be the strong one as they support other family members. Then there are the tough guys who hide their emotions because they’ve been taught “big boys don’t cry.” Still others simply cannot accept that their loved one is dead, especially if they lost them suddenly to a horrific accident.

I’ve also seen instances when the immediate family chose not to hold a service, depriving loved ones of the opportunity to say a final goodbye.

I believe this is a huge mistake. Without a service, friends and family don’t gain the closure they so desperately need, which means they may never fully accept the loss.

In today’s tough economy, cremation has become an increasingly popular final disposition option because it is simple and affordable. Unfortunately, in an effort to save even more money, many financially strapped families are choosing cremation without a visitation or any other service.

Yet foregoing the service often ends up costing these families in the long run — not in dollars, but in emotional healing.

It is extremely important to give family members and friends the opportunity to say goodbye to a person they loved — whether it’s a public visitation or a simple private viewing for the closest loved ones. Many people cannot even begin their healing process without that closure.

And I’m not just talking about relatives; let’s not forget about close friends and beloved pets; they grieve, too! So, it’s important to allow them that opportunity for a final farewell.

This final goodbye is only the beginning of the grief process. In the days following the death of a loved one, the surviving spouse is often surrounded by relatives and friends.

Once the service is over, these caring individuals must head home and get back to their lives — leaving the surviving spouse or immediate family members alone.

But they are not alone. Some funeral homes have certified grief counselors on their staff who can help individuals privately or in a group setting. Call or go to funeral home websites to see whether they offer group or private grief sessions.

Whatever you do, don’t try to go at it alone. Grief is often a lengthy and painful journey. But with the right support, you’ll ultimately discover hope and renewal.

Local funeral home director Rob Loose’s column runs the first Sunday of each month as part of a rotation of personal business advice columns. Contact him at rob@loosefuneralhomes.com.