The death of a loved one is an experience unto its own. It is impossible to gauge how individuals within the family circle will react to their new reality of life without the decedent by their side. One might witness age-old rivalries, control struggles, jealousies or even aloofness surface between those within this intimate experience. Siblings may pit against each other, rather than draw upon each other’s strengths, to overcome the wretched pain and sadness brought on by death.
As a funeral director, I see families who come together and console each other through, what is essentially; the worst experience life has to offer. I also see families who rip apart any semblance of love or support based on past disappointments or unsettled issues. Why is it then, that some families have a successful and supportive loss experience while others do not?
Many factors influence the behavior of families and individuals as they travel funeral week and the grief experience that follows. Generally, religion plays the major influence on behavior and perception; but, life’s experience, as a whole, plays almost the same role. If an individual has not had a religious upbringing, one cannot expect him or her to react according to theological instructions. This individual will react according to his or her experiences in loss. If this is their first human loss, the experience may indeed be very overwhelming and near impossible to find meaning. If you add to this, past struggles within the family circle, believers, and non-believers alike may become lost within the difficult recovery process.
My best observations over the past few years have been, that when a family has suffered the loss of a loved one, all within the intimate family circle should put aside all ill will, ill feelings and ill experiences; and come together to offer love and support for all involved. If a family can successfully accomplish this, they will begin their grief experience and travel through a healthier recovery. They might even realize that healing and happiness come through forgiveness and that hate and discontent spawn darkness and hamper recovery.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a funeral director, author and professional speaker. I write books and weekly bereavement articles related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award. I deliver powerful messages and motivate audiences toward positive recovery. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.