Times of loss often cause us to reflect on what matters most to us. Any type of loss can cause this introspection, whether it be the loss of a life, relationship, job, etc. However, when you lose a loved one this introspection can be incredibly beneficial and it can help us onto a course of healing. This important period of reflection is often best accomplished during a funeral or memorial service. During a memorial service most people typically reflect on three things – 1.) the life of the deceased, 2.) the impact on the family, 3.) our own life and mortality.
1. The Life of The Deceased
No matter how close you were, a lot can be learned about someone during their memorial services. Whether it was your Uncle’s unknown charitable donations that he so humbly kept to himself, or your Grandfather’s war stories, you may find yourself swept with emotion for how these people have impacted people’s’ lives. Taking it a step further, you will reflect on how this person impacted your life. You probably won’t think of the cars they drove or the money they made, but the moments you shared together; the walks as a child to the ice cream parlor and the yearly vacations that were so important to you.
2. The Impact On The Family
For the immediate family, the grief can be unbearable and it may be difficult for them to let go until the deceased has been properly honored. Whether it’s a traditional funeral service or a celebration, it is important for family and friends to provide support and be there for them.
3. Your Own Life & Mortality
It is especially common to reflect on mortality during memorial and funeral services. As you listen to the virtues of your loved one’s eulogy, you may reflect on how you will be remembered. This can cause anxiety for some, and peace-of-mind for others. Do you want to be someone that is remembered for being deeply good and for listening well? Do you want to achieve of generosity of spirit, or that depth of character? Being aware of your mortality can be good for you, and recognizing it can open your eyes to new opportunities.
Losing someone we love causes us suffering. However that suffering can become more bearable when we realize that we can grow from our loss. As ironic as that may sound, adversity can motivate people to deepen and develop new relationships. Hardships give us knowledge to offer those experiencing something similar. This is a unique source of understanding that can give our pain real purpose. Sometimes suffering ceases when it grows into a life experience that’s truly meaningful. Without this valuable dedicated time, most of us have a hard time pausing, reflecting, and properly nurturing our new grief.