Recently I worked with a beautiful family who had lost their matriarch. The children and grandchildren were, of course, distraught over their significant loss and were at times emotional during the services. As the funeral service came to an end, and the family gathered around the casket to bid their final farewell to their beloved matriarch, the Pastor rose and approached the podium. His words of comfort were startling to me. He chastised the family for showing their emotions and instructed them in the perils of not holding themselves in check.
One of the decedent’s daughters spoke back to him from the congregation and said that they were doing what was natural during this painful experience. The Pastor rebuked her and again reiterated his instructions to be strong and not succumb to their weakness.
In all of my years in funeral service, I have never come across such an incredibly calloused spiritual leader. I was impressed that the men of the family held their composure during the exchange. Husbands held their wives offering comfort and fathers carried their children through the myriad of tears that come with significant loss and pain and through the rejection of one’s spiritual instructor. The family cared for each other during this unwarranted chastisement, and I hope that as they enter the dark days of grief, that the will disregard his words as those from an archaically educated individual.
Grief is not something you can control. It is something that you experience based on the loss of something or someone significant. The depth of your pain is predicated upon the extent of attachment, significance, and love related to your loss. Recovery from loss is an adjustment of heart, mind, body, and soul. The loss is real, the pain is real, and the adjustment is real.
One should never invalidate the pain that accompanies loss, especially the loss of a loved one. Doing so only leads to additional difficulties and potentially profound illness.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a Certified Grief Counselor (GC-C), Funeral Director (FDIC), published author, syndicated columnist, and co-founder of the “Mikey Joe Children’s Memorial” and Heaven Sent, Corp. I write books, weekly bereavement articles, and Grief BRIEFs 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.
It is my life’s work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.
For additional encouragement, read other articles or watch video “Grief Briefs,” please go to my website at www.MourningCoffee.com.