Regardless of your age, there is a good chance that you have attended at least one or two funerals. For those people reading this article, there is a greater chance that you’ve possibly attended many more funerals than just two. Unfortunately, over the past year, I personally have attended more funerals than normal. With each funeral I attend, my belief that funerals are an important ritual to help the living acknowledge loss and begin the grief process grows even stronger. Funerals do matter.
At one point in time or another, you will likely be involved with planning a funeral or Life Celebration. While this is a daunting task that no one looks forward to doing, if done in advance your efforts will be very beneficial to your family and friends when it is time to say goodbye to your loved one. If you are the family member or friend who is responsible for planning a funeral at the time of need, don’t worry, your funeral director will walk you through every decision and help you every step of the way.
Anyone who has experienced a death of a loved one may find the holidays difficult. The season can become filled with feelings of sadness, loss and emptiness. “Society encourages you to join in the holiday spirit, but all around you the sounds, sights and smells trigger memories of the one you love who has died,” said Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D, Director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition “During the holidays it is important to remember to be tolerant and compassionate with yourself.”
If you have attended a funeral service recently, you may have noticed that it was a little more upbeat and celebratory than the services you attended when you were a young adult or child. With the baby boom population being 75 million strong, it’s no surprise that today’s funeral services have become “Life Celebrations” instead of a room full of friends and family wearing black attire and sad faces.
Although it took a little longer for the cold, icy and grey weather to roll into Central Kentucky this year, Winter seems like an eternity for those of us who like the more moderate Spring temperatures living just south of the Mason Dixon line gifts to us. For many people though, the bone chilling weather bring with it sickness, depression and grief. These illnesses can be caused by something as simple as being vulnerable to sickness to suffering from seasonal affective disorder to coping.....
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Although it took a little longer for the cold, icy and grey weather to roll into Central Kentucky this year, Winter seems like an eternity for those of us who like the more moderate Spring temperatures living just south of the Mason Dixon line gifts to us.
For many people though, the bone chilling weather bring with it sickness, depression and grief. These illnesses can be caused by something as simple as being vulnerable to sickness to suffering from seasonal affective disorder to coping with a recent loss of loved one. Whatever the cause, grieving from a loss is difficult.
The death of someone you loved changes you forever. Before you can live again, it is necessary to travel a journey through grief.
According to Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition, mourners traveling the grief journey need to go through 6 steps in order to heal.
The first step according to Dr. Wolfelt is the act of acknowledging the reality of death. Whether the death of the person you loved was sudden or anticipated, it can take time to accept that the death has occurred. Reality is difficult to recognize, but with time, you will move on to the next step in your journey.
Embracing the pain of loss is the second step of the grief journey. Dr. Wolfelt states that it is easier to avoid, repress or deny the pain of grief than it is to confront it, yet it is in confronting the pain that allows people the opportunity to travel through the journey.
The third step in the grief journey is remembering the person who died. When death occurs, it is so much easier for people to encourage you to clean out the person’s closet and sell your house than it is to share moments looking at videos and photos together while talking about the wonderful memories you shared with the deceased. Dr. Wolfelt said by remembering the past the future will be open to new experiences.
After a death, you simply aren’t the same person you were before the death. In such, the fourth step in the grief journey is developing a new self-
identity that empowers you to live with your new self-
Whether the deceased dies naturally and it was expected or if death was traumatic and unexpected, it is natural to ask “Why?” and “How?” There is no doubt that death leaves people feeling out-
The sixth step of grief is all about receiving ongoing support from others. Traveling the grief journey should never be done in isolation. You need others to support you through each of the 6 steps. You need hugs and kind words of encouragement. You need someone to listen to you and cry with you. While many people who are grieving are able to get the help they need from family and friends, others need the help from professional counselors. It is important to recognize when it is time to get professional help.
There are several organizations who offer support groups in the Central Kentucky area including churches, Hospice of the Bluegrass, hospitals and your funeral director. Beginning in March on the third Tuesday of every month at 6:30pm, Milward will host a monthly support group at its Man O’ War location at 1509 Trent Boulevard utilizing Dr. Wolfelt’s book, “The Ten Essential Touchstones,”. Anyone grieving is welcome to attend the Milward Support Group; however, Milward is also available to help you find other groups that fit your needs or schedule. RSVP at 859-
Kim Wade has been a marketing consultant for more than 20 years specializing in the funeral industry. Currently, she is the Community Relations Director for Milward Funeral Directors, the 37th-