Two years ago, my uncle died. A beloved past-minister, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, son, and so on. He was well known in many communities of people. When I called my mother to ask about the funeral arrangements, she informed me there would not be one. I was really upset to hear this. It was because the family, with his knowledge, had felt that they did not want to do this. They didn’t want a bunch of commotion. I was furious with this but my words could not be heard because his family are people that when they make a decision, they are not detracted.
As a psychotherapist, who deals with death and dying quite frequently from survivors who come into my office, I know the importance of grief. A funeral is not for the dead, it is for the living. It is for the people who love the departed one and who need to come together in memorial of this person to “sing” their praises. When you deny a funeral from your loved one’s and those who knew of you, you are keeping them from being in congregation with one another and withholding their ability to have closure.
This morning, I had a client confront me about being uncomfortable with me in the room. It was so hard for them to do this and they spoke in a roundabout way that it took me a minute to realize it was about me. I had the utmost respect for them that they would confront me in this situation. I began to realize how terrifying it was for them to say this. I acknowledged all of this and set about to make the situation more pleasant for all. I was successful because I approached them with respect and honor. The interesting part of this is that the person was not even going to come in today. They told me that they had planned to just run away and hide. This made me even more grateful to know that they were so brave to come in to session. We ended with both of us having a renewed respect for each other. I could see they were very grateful for having taken a stand as well.