Every day we are faced with news about someone who did something awful to another person, place or thing. Sometimes these bad things happen and it isn’t in the public eye, yet affects us as their loved one, nonetheless. It is a sad reality and sometimes we forget that everyone, regardless of their past, has a family, friends and even co-workers. They have had people in their lives they have interacted with for the both the positive and negative, as we all have.
Time and again we see victim’s families offer forgiveness and grace to those who have had a negative impact on their family. At the end of the day, we all face the choice to forgive and love, or not. We all live this life with its many twists and turns. With choices and consequences, we are born into classes, cultures and perceptions, so of which serve us well and others that take us down paths that are unhealthy and even dangerous.
Unconditional Love and Honoring Your Loved One
Sometimes when we lay a loved one to rest, we may experience some level of shame over the way they lived and/or our role in that. When it is time for a funeral or other end of life services, we may struggle with what to say, how to honor them, even who to invite. And this can be hard and create additional stress during an already difficult time.
We know this situation is unique to you and your family and we want you to know that no matter how you or your loved has defined themselves in their life, we are here to honor them, not judge. Honoring your loved one means we will celebrate the positives and respect their life with unconditional love. Fairmount Funeral Home and Cemetery is a safe place for you and your family to plan, grieve and honor your loved one regardless of their chosen identity labels. This includes:
Fairmount Funeral Home has been serving grieving families for over 75 years in the Denver area. Honoring your loved one is our specialty. Our family care providers are here to help you will every step of the pre-planning, arrangements and after care for you or your family members during this season of life. If we can be of any assistance, please call us at 303-399-0692.
After a loss, it is common to feel shocked and angry. However, over time, these feelings begin to change, and eventually, you will be looking to move on with your life. Unfortunately, many people begin feeling guilty at this point in their life. Moving on after a loss can be extremely difficult, especially if you are riddled with guilt. However, there are some things you can do to make the journey a little easier. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Start by joining a support group filled with people in situations similar to your own. Discussing your feelings with others going through the same thing can be a great way to process those feelings. You may also be able to receive advice from those who have been in your shoes in the past and who have already moved to the next stage.
Joining a support group is also beneficial for another reason. You will have the opportunity to share your experience in the hopes of providing relief to another person in pain. Supporting each other is the main purpose of a support group, and you never know how your experience may help another person.
Also, when you are feeling overwhelmed with guilt, take some time to analyze and assess your needs. Are these needs being met appropriately? Are you taking care of yourself as you should? After a loss, it is extremely important to focus on what your needs are and to take care of yourself.
Some people begin failing to meet their own basic needs after a loss. This could cause them to fall ill or to not perform well in many areas of their life. Oftentimes, these actions are related to the guilt the person is feeling. This is especially true when survivor’s guilt is in the picture. Taking care of your needs and your health properly can help you to minimize the amount of guilt you may be feeling.
When you are trying to move on with your life, especially if you are considering dating again after the loss of a significant other, make sure you take small steps. Give yourself plenty of time to grieve and avoid jumping into a new relationship until your mind and heart are healed significantly.
Getting back into a relationship quickly after a loss could lead to overwhelming feelings of guilt. However, by waiting and taking it slow, you can avoid many of these feelings. In addition to this, it could help you avoid a huge heartache down the road. Most relationships that begin too early after a loss fail miserably. When this happens, the person experiencing the loss often goes through a period of extremely high emotions.
Finally, make a conscious effort to forgive yourself. Understand that moving on is a natural part of the grieving process and forgive yourself for doing so. Remember, your loved one will not have expected you to hang onto them after they are gone. Therefore, moving on is the only natural response to their loss.
You should also share these feelings with friends and family members that are there to support you. Avoid sharing with those who may be critical of what you are doing. Instead, only discuss your situation with those who are supportive and loving towards you.
Feeling guilty when you are trying to move past a loss is a completely natural reaction. However, when you are able to put the items listed above into action, you will be able to find solace and peace in the process of moving on. Eventually, the guilt will be replaced other feelings that make living life after your loss a little more bearable.
Whether the death is sudden, or your loved one slowly passed away, it’s never easy dealing with loss. Between the initial feelings of anger, learning to adjust to living without them, and even blaming yourself for the loss, it’s important to surround yourself with support. Of course, though, there’ll be moments where you want to be alone. Regardless, talking with people about your feelings is important. While there’s definitely not a “cure” for grief, talking to others helps to release those bottled up emotions. However, is there a line that shouldn’t be crossed? Everyone has different feelings on what it means to lose someone. While you may want to talk to as many people as possible, sometimes it can actually be more harmful than helpful. Overall, here are some reasons why you need to be careful about the people you choose to talk to when dealing with grief.
When you’re talking to others about loss and grief, always remember that people can be very insensitive. In fact, this is the main reason you need to be careful when sharing your feelings with others. After all, there’s nothing worse than someone saying hurtful words in the midst of your pain. Sometimes, these people have lost loved ones too, but their insensitivity is because their experience is different from yours. In other words, they haven’t necessarily experienced what you’re feeling.
For example, let’s say a person only experienced one loss in their life, which was their mother. However, the loss was very sudden and unexpected, and it had a major impact on them growing up. On the other hand, you have another person who has lost a lot of relatives. However, not only were they not very close to their relatives, but those numerous losses have also made them desensitized to the feelings of others. They may jump to conclusions about your grief, and assume you’re supposed to be feeling the way that they did.
Of course, though, that’s not the only reason some are insensitive to the feelings of others. If anything, it may also be because they haven’t experienced grief. The thing about loss is that it’s something many people don’t understand unless they’ve experienced it themselves. They might not know how to respond to you, and even when they do offer advice, he/she may end up saying the wrong things. In this case, their insensitivity is more unintentional than anything else.
Overall, there are plenty more reasons people may be insensitive to your experience. Regardless, always be smart about who you choose to share your feelings with. Talk with your family members about what you’re going through, and chat with those whose experiences are very similar with yours.
When sharing your feelings of grief with others, always make sure that person isn’t uncomfortable. This is especially common when you’re talking with people who haven’t experienced loss. One reason why sharing your feelings could make them uneasy, especially if you’re their friend, is because of how vulnerable you are. Your friends may end up seeing a side of you they haven’t seen before. It brings up feelings of uneasiness, since it’s uncommon for you to open up so much. Lastly, he/she may also be uneasy, because death is an elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about. Sure, your friend hasn’t lost anyone in their life, but it also brings them to a reality they don’t want to face. After all, what if they lose a loved one next? Many people know it’ll be a reality someday, but attempt to brush it under the rug or shrug it off.
All in all, when dealing with loss, it’s important you speak to the right individuals. Between dealing with those who are just plain insensitive, and others who may feel uncomfortable, opening up to the wrong people can be more harmful than helpful. Visit us at Fairmount Funeral Home, and one of our family care providers will give you the help and support you need during this emotional time.
Without a doubt, the loss of a loved one impacts most people significantly. However, loss can have an especially profound effect on young children under the age of 5 or 6. This is especially true for young children who do not yet understand the concept of death. If you’re trying to help your children cope with the loss of a loved one, here are a few tips that will help you do just that.
A child will have a difficult time moving on from the death of a loved one if he or she does not have a good understanding of the meaning of death. Therefore, to ensure your child deals with grief in a healthy manner, you should explain death to him or her in a child’s terms.
Children who are 5 or 6 years old and younger tend to have a very literal view of the world. To help your child understand death, it is important that you explain it in the most concrete and basic terms possible.
For example, if the loved one died of old age or illness, you can explain that the loved one’s body stopped working and the doctors couldn’t do anything to fix it. If the loved one died suddenly in an accident, you can explain that a tragedy caused his or her body to stop working suddenly.
You also want to make it clear that the death of the loved one is no one’s fault. Due to misunderstanding, young children are prone to thinking that their actions or behavior somehow caused the death.
Since many young children have a difficult time grasping the concept of death, you don’t want to make things more difficult by using euphemisms.
Many parents make the mistake of telling their children that the loved one “went to sleep” or “went away.” Since young children tend to think literally rather figuratively, these euphemisms may make a child believe the loved one may come back at some point. It is also possible that these euphemisms may make a child fearful to go to sleep.
Chances are your child is far more perceptive than you think. Be as honest with your child as possible and encourage him or her to ask questions.
Of course, you may not have answers for the most difficult questions your child asks, but just do your best. You can also share with your child the spiritual beliefs you have pertaining to death. Encouraging questions will create a comfortable and open environment for you and your child. You don’t want your child to feel as if there is a “right” way to react after a death.
Sometimes, the questions young children ask about death sound deep. However, in most cases, these questions are not nearly as deep as they sound to you. Once again, this ties back to the tendency of young children to view the world literally.
If your young child asks where the loved one who has died is, chances are he or she is being literal. Therefore, your child may be satisfied with the answer that the loved one is in the cemetery. However, this would also be an opportune time to share with your child the beliefs you have about what happens after life.
Dealing with loss is hard for both adults and young children. As you attempt to process your grief, it is important that you also help your child through this difficult time. Visit us at Fairmount Funeral Home and one of our family care providers will give you the help and support you need during this emotional time.
The loss of a loved one has a profound impact on our lives that never truly goes away. The process of mourning is a long and difficult experience. In order to heal from a tragic loss, it is best to not set aside your grief, but rather to face it head-on. This process requires you to deal with inner feelings, but it also involves mourning, which is the outward expression of grief. There are six waypoints along the path of mourning which represent different needs for reconciliation. Once a person has undertaken these steps of mourning the person will be more capable of moving forward after a loss.
This first step is not easy, and it may take weeks or months for it to fully sink in. There is an instinct to avoid this reality, but this delays the process of mourning. An important and natural part of accepting a death is to remember the events that occurred at the time the person passed away. These include memories that are both good and bad. Each time you replay these events in your mind, the truth becomes more real to you.
This task is difficult because it requires a person to embrace pain, while the natural instinct is to avoid it. The instinct is to repress or deny the pain of grief, but without confronting it, the pain will linger much longer. During this process, it’s best if you don’t try to deal with all the pain at once, because it can easily become overwhelming. Instead, it helps to create a safe place where you can deal with it a little bit at a time. In order to spread the task out over time, it might be necessary to find distractions that temporarily take your mind away from grieving.
Even after a loved one has passed away, you still continue a relationship with them through your memories. These memories are precious and should not be repressed. It helps to keep belongings and photographs that remind you of the person you lost. Don’t let people convince you to get rid of keepsakes or photographs of the person, because moving into the future is best accomplished when you have a healthy regard for the past.
When someone with whom you were close to passes away, the loss has a transformational effect on who you are. A wife whose husband dies becomes a widow. When losing a child, a parent becomes a bereaved parent. The way you see yourself and they way society sees you is changed. Also, after a person dies, you may need to take over the role that they previously filled. This process may require more work which reminds you of the person’s death. This transition into becoming a different person can make you feel afraid, almost as if you are a child that needs to discover his or her identity. However, by going through this process, you may discover new qualities in your personality and new strengths.
When losing a loved one, it often causes people to question things that they may have previously taken for granted. It can cause you to question your faith, or look for a new perspective on life. After losing someone extremely important in your life, it feels like a part of yourself has died, and you may wonder if life has any meaning at all. A difficult but important reconciliation need is to search for this meaning and find a renewed focus for your life. This may mean questioning your spirituality or reaffirming your faith.
Many people are made to feel that they should not rely on others or not let things get them down. Some people may tell you “Turn that frown upside down,” or “It’s time to move on with your life.” However, trying to deal with loss by yourself can hinder the healing process. It’s important to be around compassionate people who are willing to acknowledge the significance of your shared loss.
Reconciliation is a process that helps to shape the new person you become after a loss, and it enables you to face the future without the presence of a person who was important to you and helped define the meaning of your life. You will never forget this person, and the pain of loss will never completely disappear, but as these feelings become less intense and less frequent, you will begin to feel more able to continue on and have a rich and meaningful life.
There is no easy way to deal with the loss of a loved one. The best we can hope for, as human beings, is to learn a new way to live around the loss. Anyone who has lost a family member or friend knows that there is no replacing them, there is no “getting over” them, and to think that life will go back to “normal” after a while isn’t a very accurate thought or assumption to make. The absence of that person who made such an impact on your life will forever be felt.
And that’s okay.
It is normal for each of us to deal with the passing of a loved one in our own unique way. Typically, crying is a very common outwardly expression of our loss and grief — but that’s not to say that everyone who has lost someone has to cry. Sometimes, people feel angry, they’re confused about why their loved one passed on, or they often times will just go numb. Feeling like you’re numb on the inside does not mean that you didn’t love or care for the person you lost as much as you “should have.” Not knowing how you feel about things for a while is okay. You’re not going to have everything worked out 100% within a matter of hours, or days, or weeks.
And that’s okay.
Let yourself feel whatever comes to you at any given time. The brain is a marvelous work of genius — it works with your subconscious to protect and heal you. Allow yourself to feel angry, hurt, discouraged, lost, and numb. And allow yourself to feel happy as well. After all, happiness is what your loved one brought into your life, and what better way to remember them than with all of the happy and loving memories they wanted to be sure and leave you with. According to Dr. Alan Wolfelt, “Grief is the counterpart to love,” and the more someone meant to you, the more grief you’re going to feel when they pass on. Just bear in mind that “grief” does not necessarily equate to “sad,” it can be a whole complexity of emotions.
There is no right or wrong emotion when it comes to dealing with the loss of a loved one. Don’t compare yourself to how you saw someone else grieve their loss. Loss is an individual experience and should not be forced into a one-size-fits-all box. Remember that you are having to learn a new way to live without your loved one being present. That takes time and patience. After you allow yourself time to mourn, it’s good to push yourself to start doing things again and to keep a routine, but don’t feel like you have to push yourself to hurry up and be “okay.” Just because you need to get back into some form of daily normalcy doesn’t mean that you’re not still hurting over your loss, nor does it diminish how much you cared about your loved one. Learning to live around your loss can be very difficult, but necessary. Allow yourself to put one foot in front of the other and take things one day at a time. Baby steps forward may be small, but they’re still steps forward.
And that’s okay.
People who have lost someone close to them can attest to the fact that losing someone is the hardest thing you will have to go through in life. They can also attest to the fact that you never stop feeling the loss, it just, over time, becomes a duller pain that is easier to handle. You will come to the point in your healing process where you will be able to laugh more and smile more when you remember your loved one. The good memories you shared with them will be the ones at the forefront of your mind, not the sadder memories of their passing. The sharp, stabbing pain that you can feel will fade to a more tolerable ache, and you will find that having allowed yourself proper time to understand and grieve will, in turn, allow you to move on with those happy memories so you can continue to give life to the love you and your loved one shared.
Losing someone is never easy. How you will deal with that loss is never predictable. Allow yourself to be helped by family and friends during this time, and don’t be afraid to talk to them. They love you and want you to use them in whatever way you need to to help yourself get through this part of your grieving and coping process. They’re there for you to lean on while you’re too tired to walk, so let them help you. You don’t have to be strong right now — and that’s okay, too.
If you would like more information about grief, the grieving process, or how to help a loved one with their grief, please take a look at Dr. Alan Wolfelt’s Center For Loss & Life Transition. He has multiple books about grieving, and also holds seminars and teaching sessions to help people learn how to help others during their times of loss.
When dealing with loss, one of the most challenging things for many people is knowing how to comfort someone who has recently lost a loved one. Knowing what to say and when to say it can be challenging, which is why it is important to keep the following things in mind.
Following the loss of a loved one, many people feel pressured to say the right thing. What the bereaved may need you to do instead is simply listen. Allow that person to express how he or she is feeling without being judgmental. It’s not what you say, but your actions during this time that are important. Don’t feel as though you need to make conversation or get the other person to talk things out. Simply showing your support with a hug or a pat on the back will likely be sufficient.
When the time does come for you to express your regrets, it’s important to avoid using clichés such as “I’m sorry for your loss”, or “At least he didn’t suffer.” Instead, express your support by letting your friend know you are just a phone call away. Let that person know that it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for help, and that you are willing to be the one that he or she can lean on when things get rough. Few people extend themselves to a grieving person in such a manner, so you can be sure your offer of assistance will be especially heartwarming.
While it’s customary to send a sympathy card when someone passes, nothing means more than a handwritten letter. You don’t have to be an eloquent writer in order to express your deepest regrets over the passing of a loved one. Even a short note saying “you are in my thoughts and prayers” will have a greater impact than a store-bought card any day.
Not everyone follows the same timeline when it comes to grieving, nor does everyone grieve in the same way. As such, it is very important not to judge someone because you feel that person is grieving inappropriately. Never tell someone to “get over it” or “stop acting inappropriately”, as this will likely drive a wedge between you that could be extremely difficult to close. Instead, continue to listen and offer support just as you did when the loss was first discovered.
Make every effort to validate the bereaved’s emotions, but avoid giving unsolicited advice. However, if you notice destructive behavior such as alcohol or drug abuse, suicidal tendencies, or severe depression, please do what you can to ensure the grieving individual obtains counseling. These are not healthy methods of grieving, and indicate a more serious problem that you personally are likely not equipped to handle.
It’s important to remember that the grieving process can take several months. The first holiday without that special someone is likely to be extremely hard, which is why follow-up calls are so important. Don’t be afraid to ask your friend how he or she will be dealing with a special occasion. If necessary, extend a dinner invitation or drop by for a personal visit to ensure that person does not have to spend important days alone.
Talking to a close friend after he or she has lost a loved one is something that truly frightens a lot of people. If you’re one of them, you may find yourself actually avoiding your friend because you fear saying the wrong thing. The best advice we can give is to express your concern through carefully-planned actions that will help to back up your words.
The death of a loved one is an earth shattering experience. Immediately after the loss, life is a whirlwind. Memorial services and funerals occur very quickly, many times while those left behind are still in shock. Extended family and friends from all over flock to the family home to remember their dearly departed, but once the services are over, the grief remains. Helping a grieving friend is never easy and understanding that grief often comes in waves and that everyone’s grief is different is vital.
As a treasured friend, it is important to be there for the griever long after the funeral has ended. Consider the following:
Grief is experienced differently by everyone at different times. Avoid telling a grieving loved one that you know how they feel or trying to rationalize their feelings. One moment a grieving person may experience sadness that their loved one was taken from them and in the next moment they may express startling anger that their loved one left them behind. Whatever they are feeling is acceptable. There is no correct way to grieve. As a friend, one of the best things you can do is to listen to their feelings and show compassion without judgement or criticism.
Immediately after a death, loved ones are often in shock, bombarded with visitors, and busy themselves with the technicalities of funerals and settling the estate. It may be only after the funeral when they return to an empty home or settle into a life that no longer has their loved one’s physical presence that they grief fully manifests. Grief has no time limit and the griever often needs more support in the weeks and months following the loss than at the initial time of death. Stopping by to check in every now and then, reaching out with a card or quick phone call, and offering help or simply an ear to listen can make the world of difference to someone feeling alone and lost in the grief. Keep yourself available for months and even years and understand that it is often difficult for someone to reach out when they need help.
Special occasions such as Christmas, birthdays, and anniversaries are often especially difficult. The events and celebrations associated with these special times often emphasize the loss and absence of a treasured loved one. As a friend, you need to understand that there may be pain associated with this and that is a natural extension of grief. Never try to convince someone that they should be celebrating or emphasizing other people’s happiness during this time. Respect the griever’s pain and offer to help whenever possible. Understand that past traditions may no longer bring the joy they once did. Consider organizing a special remembrance or attending one if you are invited. If your friend lost a spouse, consider hosting a dinner where old friends can share stories about the lost loved one or simply recall a favorite memory. Always be compassionate in your efforts and remember that everyone grieves differently. While some may want to focus on remembering their lost one, others may prefer to focus on remaining loved ones. Discuss any potential plans with the griever first.
The death of a loved one is difficult and the repercussions are life altering. Offering a shoulder to cry on, a compassionate ear, and a friendly presence following a loss are the most important things you can do for a friend. Remember to never criticize or try to minimize their pain and constantly be aware that grieving lasts far beyond the funeral. For additional tips, consider reviewing some of the information from Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. at the Center for Loss & Life Transition.
Everyone on earth has to deal with loss of a loved one, with some losing many, and many losing at least a parent or close friend. Regardless, you might find others who haven’t yet had much experience with loss. When it happens to them, it’s hard to place ourselves in their shoes, especially when it’s the death of someone virtually inseparable.
As a friend or family member, how can you reach out to this person to help them deal with a loss that was sudden and almost incomprehensible? Even in those who realize the realities of death, it’s a challenge to put it into perspective once it really happens.
The important thing is to put yourself in the role of the one dealing with the loss. This is the first step toward understanding grief and how it works with every human being.
Many people confuse grief with mourning, and they’re really quite different. When we mourn someone, we show outward emotion as a form of catharsis in dealing with losing loved ones. Grief is internal and based on more complex thoughts and feelings we have on how to process the passing of someone close.
Both are important for any person when dealing with death. The trouble is that society sometimes places stigma on grief as being weak-minded. Everyone needs to experience grief to fully comprehend their loss and find ways to deal with it. Whether it’s through personal religious belief, or support from loved ones, grief is a necessary journey we all need to go through for better mental health.
Without it, the person experiencing the loss could end up hurting their mental health. We all should take grief and use it to help live our life with more meaning.
With this understanding from your perspective, it’s time to use the right approaches to help your friend or relative deal with a recent loss.
An important element in helping someone deal with a loss is to become a good listener. Once someone loses an important person in their life, talking about the pain and processing it through words is essential to put it in the proper perspective. It’s vital you allow them to talk about it, no matter if they repeat themselves.
Basically, you need to act like a counselor who regularly listens to personal problems their clients go through. By showing you understand and care, you’ve already done a lot to help the person through their pain.
Understanding the uniqueness of a loss is another major step in helping someone through the ordeal. Death can come in ways that are more tragic than others, sometimes suddenly and violently. These are far more difficult to comprehend for family members, which requires special approaches to help them get through it.
Through the listening phase above, you can get a better idea of what the person is going through emotionally. This helps you enter a friend or family member’s feelings for full comprehension of their state of mind. Plus, it helps you find better ways to respond verbally rather than using overused phrases that sound rote.
Maybe you’ve helped your friend or relative through the funeral and initial grief stage, yet you shouldn’t walk away and assume the grieving is over. Feelings of grief will likely go on for months or years more, and this requires being there for support along the way.
Anniversaries and holidays will come up, bringing strong emotions. Offering practical help and even setting up memorials for the grieving person goes a long way in showing your personal respect.
Visit us at Fairmount Funeral Home and one of our family care providers will give you the help and support you need during this emotional time.
Funerals and weddings bring families together, sometimes even more than a family reunion will. There is something unique as well about a funeral in that it seems to put life into perspective. Funeral receptions, therefore, have become a spontaneous family reunion. And although it is not under the happiest of situations, the truth is they become a time to reconnect with friends and loved ones. It can easily be extended to really honor the loved one by having a celebration of everyone coming together.
At one time, receptions that didn’t carry a somber feeling were practically taboo. The modern funeral reception is now growing in popularity, and also practicality, because everyone is together. Today’s culture is much more open than past ones, and they are taking the idea of community outside the boxes of conventionality.
Some funeral receptions will offer food, cocktails and even music and dancing. This reception helps people reconnect with loved ones, celebrate the life of the deceased and bring laughter, support and connection to an otherwise melancholy event. Just like any other celebration, thought should be given to how the event feels, looks and flows. Consider ways that you can personalize the funeral reception so it truly is honoring.
Personalize it. Decor and mementos that were meaningful in the life of the person being honored, are always a good idea. Offer favors such as wildflower seeds or ask guests to bring something memorable as a way to celebrate the things the deceased loved. Place them on a memorial table for people to see.
Offer Refreshments. It is fairly traditional for the reception to be potluck style. However, as people are in mourning, and we are faced with more food allergy restrictions, asking for food to be brought can pose a challenge. Instead, consider some light catering options such as appetizers, trays or platters of food and a variety of beverages.
Allow expression. Show a video or slideshow of the family and friends of the departed. Ask people to share stories, poems or songs. If music and dancing seems right for the venue and the celebration, don’t be afraid to incorporate it. Don’t force people to be happy and don’t be upset if people cry. Everyone processes death differently, so allow that. Offer notebooks for people to write memories and stories, or offer a video booth for them to create a story visually.
Take off the pressure. Likely, the funeral reception is rather last minute, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make everything perfect. Use an event planner, especially one associated with the venue, to pull together a fast and easy reception. What you lack in experience, they have done hundreds of times and already have relationships with multiple vendors. They also will likely be more clear headed, so let them do the work. Ask for help when and where you need it.