On the worst day of your life there can be hope. That is my experience as a member of the Pray Funeral Home staff, and as a person who experienced the death of her husband. Even after losing Rex, I am full of hope and have found it very important to share hope with others in similar situations. I have found quiet places in my life for me to reflect and take refuge. One of those places of refuge for families who have experienced a death is our funeral home. The funeral home is a safe place where families can express the emotions they feel as they traverse through the experiences of grief. Our staff guides these families through that path of loss. That refuge, and guidance are important for the healing process of losing a loved one. Our assistance helps bring about hope.
For a family who has lost someone, there are many “wonders”. I wonder if I will ever smile again. I wonder if anyone will understand my feelings about the loss of my husband? Is it a good idea to talk about my thoughts? Should I keep them to myself? Deal with them myself? Cope with them myself? Share them with who? Publicly? To a friend ? My family? To a group? Therapist? Or just keep them wandering in my brain? To answer these “wonders” let me explain my thoughts and experiences.
As a part of the staff at Pray Funeral Home, it gives me tremendous satisfaction to know that I myself have been a part of the healing process that needs to be experienced following the death of a loved one. From the moment the the funeral home staff receives a call from a family telling us someone has died, we are emotionally involved with the family and the stories that are attached to the deceased.
The personal interaction between our staff members and the families we serve is part of the healing process that each family needs at this time. Once the family has entered our funeral home for the first arrangement meeting, the healing can begin. Our mission is to listen, support, and counsel. The funeral home can be a refuge for the family. We provide a place for family to express their thoughts and feelings of grief without judgement. The funeral home is a place for family to interact with and receive support from the public. That may be at a visitation, or memorial, or a funeral. For those who don’t think it is necessary to hold a service for their loved one….. I’m here personally to tell you how necessary it really is.
My husband passed away in January 2017. For me to go through the bereaved widow role was a lesson of a lifetime. I received the compassion given to me by the staff, and I now truly understand the value of a service. Rex did not want a funeral. He didn’t want anyone to see him, but to just be cremated. He was adamant about it, and made it well known. When he passed, the decision was honored in that just his immediate family would participate in the viewing. Then he was cremated. However, we had a wonderful Visitation and Memorial Service with the military honors he deserved. Many people that he had acquainted himself with over the years attended and took part in the service. They all saw the need to be there.
The stories and memories shared reminded us of how very much a part of others lives he was. The service was beautiful and touching. I am so thankful that we went ahead and had the service. The hugs and demonstration of love shown was exactly what was needed. The visitation and service within the refuge of the funeral home gave me the strength to get through the next portion of loss. The community’s presence gave me reassurance that there would be many to support and help us. That benefit has proven to be immeasurable. I can’t imagine the idea of having to go to the grocery store, or out to eat and having to speak to each of those people for the first time following Rex’s death at random times. Because we chose to have a timely celebration of Rex’s life, people participated, they knew what happened, and we were able to hear stories of him and things we may never have learned about it. Because we had the gathering of family and friends my hope was restored.
The one thing I may have done differently? I maybe would have waited to have cremation happen after the service, so I could have said goodbye to him a few more times, to really make it real. The thing that many don’t realize is that each time you step away from the casket you are in essence saying good-bye, and encouraging the healing process. In addition, even the week between his death and the actual service was a long time. I can’t imagine how I would have felt if we had gone with a decision to wait until springtime, or next fall.
It is sometimes difficult to know how much to say to encourage our families to really think about what they, the living need, and not have it be as much about what the deceased wanted. Many times the person who passed, thought it would somehow be easier to “just be cremated”. Based upon my personal experience, I don’t believe following the “just cremate me” statement is in the best interest of the surviving family.
Striving for each family to have a healthy process in dealing with the loss and those days/weeks/months/years that follow continues to be our goal.
My wish is for families dealing with loss to understand that we are providing a refuge for the healing process to begin. We are offering ideas for their best personal interest. Let me use an analogy. It is difficult to compare, but a funeral director is not a car salesman, but think about that for a moment? The customer comes into a dealership with a need, and the good salesman responds with what he understands to be the best option for the customer. We are doing the same thing with loss and funerals. We share the options that have helped other families cope with loss. Our goal is to provide that refuge for the bereaved, help them find the hope that life will go on, and help them heal.