More and more people are choosing direct cremation without any kind of ceremony to mark the passing from life to death. It’s like we want to maintain the illusion of invincibility and don’t want anything to ruin the dream. Even when we do have funerals, the goal seems be all about celebration without any recognition that death is our “enemy” (1 Corinthians 15:26) and that the passing of our loved one is a painful separation. By failing to mourn, the pain of grief remains unresolved and can lead to deeper issues down the road. A funeral doesn’t bring closure to a mourner’s grief, but it does create what Dr. Wolfelt call a “meaningful beginning” where healing can begin. To do that, he says that funerals should seek to accomplish six things. Let me explain them.
Last week I attended a seminar about on grief and mourning put on by Glenn and Roslyn Crichton, founders of The Coping Centre. After sharing their own experience of loss and grieving, they talked about some of the myths surrounding grief that can become obstacles in a person’s recovery. Let me share some of those myths with you.
With one of our church members in palliative care right now, I’ve spent a lot of time there in recent days. The view of life from the palliative care wing changes you. It reorients you to what life is really all about. Stephen Covey became famous for telling people to “begin with the end in mind.” We’re so isolated from opportunities to consider the end of our lives, though, that we seldom let it deeply affect us. It’s a perspective I don’t want to lose, and yet if I don’t pause to reflect on it, I know that I probably will. Let me share a few of the lessons.