How We Say Goodbye

Grieving and Saying Goodbye
The process of grieving and saying goodbye to loved ones is as individual as our very personalities. How we approach closure is not as important as actually having closure. We all need time and our personal beliefs to allow for closure in a loved ones passing. For some of us, myself included a service with a few personal mementos, a video slide show and selected photos is a lovely part of closure. A service allows me to focus my attention and heart on all I treasured about the person in my life and to hear bits of humor, love and memories that other people treasured as well. It allows me time for tears, for laughter and for honoring all the special traits I loved about the person passing.

The Memorial
The memorial is presented as a final goodbye, a final honoring of the soul passing, but the reality is that it’s only the beginning of a long goodbye. There are many stages and emotions in our grieving process. At first we may be so shell shocked we are simply numb, for others there is anger at the unfairness of the passing, still others may bury their emotion along side the loved one, refusing to deal with the emotional pain they feel, instead remaining stoic.

There is No Right or Wrong Way
There is no right or wrong way to grieve, but there is a process and no matter how we deny it, or refuse to face it, the process will go on and we will find ourselves overcome with tears, sadness or anger at odd times when we are under great stress. We may break down when something touches our heart and reminds us of our loved one. I can remember many moments when my grief has overcome me and I’ve cried unexpectedly. A few years ago as I wandered through Hallmark around my mom’s birthday, which is also Mother’s Day I was overcome with emotion as I looked at figurines, which my mom had collected. As I looked around and turned a corner my eyes lit on a fairy/angel figurine and in that moment I felt my mom watching over me. She was showing me through that tiny angel that she is there, watching, caring and loving me. It was a sweet moment of spiritual comfort. That fairy angel figurine now graces my dresser and makes me smile when I look at her.

Treasured Mementos
For some the photos and belongings are a treasured reminder, for others they are too painful. Everyone honors their loved ones in different ways. I have photos and mementos all over my home as sweet reminders of those I love. My dad’s brother Theron, said to me once when visiting that its too hard for him to have all the photos around, that it’s a painful reminder. Instead he enjoys some of my dad’s furniture and belongings treasuring them in his home as a part of honoring my dad’s memory.

Significant Days and Moments
There will always be significant days and moments that are a struggle years after a passing. For each person the days will be different. If we can share these moments with someone we love the grief feels less and we feel more supported. This is something we must be vocal about in order to be supported in our painful moments. Many people don’t understand and need clear directives of what helps us in honoring our loved ones. Only when others understand can they step up and support us in our need.

Time truly does heal; we always hear that statement, yet I’ve found it to be true in my own grieving process. With time, years and treasured memories our hearts find peace and a way to go on, while still honoring those whose presence we miss in our lives.

Giving Ourselves Time
Giving ourselves time and allowing others time to grieve in their own way is critical. For some therapy helps or journaling or just having time in prayer. We are all very different souls facing loss and grief and we each need very personal ways to release our pain and move into feeling peaceful over a passing.

Reach Out For Support
It’s important to reach out and share with others in our grief. Sharing our pain and burden eases it, and allows us a measure of peace. If you know someone grieving reach out to them, make them laugh, take time to talk, share and listen to their memories and pain. Your love and support in dark moments will mean the world and will be remembered.
We all love and we all feel loss, so finding ways to honor our loss, release it and feel peace again is essential. Friends, loved ones, therapists, nature, prayer and time are all a piece of the process. May you each feel supported and loved through your own healing process.