Thought I'd share a few things that I've learned over the last several months about dealing with the loss of a loved one. As I mentioned in a previous post, my grandfather died in August and a few months ago we lost two church members in a two week period so it's been something on my heart and mind a lot.
1. Everyone mourns differently and needs to be given space and time to mourn in the way that is appropriate to them. All three experiences had some similarities but were also quite different. Our personalities play a key role in determining how we mourn and there really is no correct way to go about it. The key thing is that within the family, each person is given freedom to express their grief, without being attacked by someone else for not mourning the "right" way.
2. It is emotionally draining. First, you're confronted by the reality that you will no longer be with this person you love dearly. Then, you have to make all the phone calls to family and friends to let them know. You'll start coming to terms with that reality only to get a phone call where you have to re-live it all over again.
3. It is physically draining. Most people have a hard time sleeping and have no desire to eat. On top of that . . .
4. Funerals/Memorial Services are A LOT of work. One church member reflected on the experience and said it was like planning a wedding in a couple days. There are a million things that have to be taken care of and so many different options and decisions it can be overwhelming. Finding the right funeral home is the most important thing because it makes all the difference in the world. I also highly recommend making pre-arrangements (filling out some paperwork and make a few general decisions before your loved one passes) because it really makes things much easier to plan. I know it can seem wierd and almost like you're betraying your loved one but it makes things so much easier for the family.
5. It takes time. Once all the out-of-town family leaves and life gets back to normal, the real healing begins. You learn how to adjust to your new life while always being reminded about them. The holidays are a particularly difficult time of year and it's vitally important that the family is together as much as possible to support each other through it.