This week, I was gave a presentation to the United Methodist Women’s group. I arrived at the beginning of the meeting and had the opportunity to sit in and listen to their agenda and the added conversation that goes along with these meetings. In the middle of it, as they were mentioning that someone in the church had passed, one of the women in the group asked in a rather forum fashion, “They got cremated. Do you believe in that?” There was not judgment, no anger or disgust, just curiosity in hearing someone else’s point of view.
Well this group of women being older, and extremely understanding with the fact the death is apart of our lives, amazed me with the answers to this question. The answers involved all of the variables that go into what it takes to put together a funeral. Costs, location, type of service but the bottom line of it wasn’t about if cremation was right or wrong, but how the loved ones left behind need to mourn. Everyone mourns differently and when planning the final services, it isn’t about the person that has been taken from us, it is about us. Losing a loved one is difficult because there is no way to fix that loss. It isn’t like a headache where we can take some ibuprofen; It hurts, and it hurts to a point that sometimes we think it should actually kill us, but it doesn’t. It’s courage and strength that keep us moving forward, not medication.
One of the days that I was helping pack lunches with the Forest Lake church, me and some other volunteers were having a similar conversation. I don’t remember exactly how we got onto the subject, but somehow we did. Marylyn, an Army nurse for thirty years talked about losing her husband and Tricia talked about losing her sister to cancer the year before. That conversation on that 105 degree Tuscaloosa day had similar undertones of making the loss comfortable for all different mourning types by the loved ones.
As I sat there though in that meeting of courageous woman, they came to the one conclusion though, and that we all have to make sure we take the time we need to mourn, and not to rush it. They also discussed how old a child should be when they begin to understand the concept of death and it was thought that when they are old enough to sit in a chair is the age they can begin to digest the concept. My first funeral was my great grandmothers in Michigan. It is actually one of my most vivid memories from my childhood. I remember sitting there not really knowing what to think and knowing that I needed to be sad because everyone else was.
So if I can take anything from this group of women, it is to find the courage and strength to move forward while still remember who you are and why that person was important to you and, you must take the time to mourn, or else you do not properly heal in your movement forward. As we get older, it becomes more and more apparent of the inevitability of death. It isn’t a fun subject but none the less something that needs to be discussed from time to time. This last six months, I personally see and have felt the importance of taking time to discuss it. Even, as in this community of Project Kinect, we have looked at it in different ways such as “A Conversation with our Server” and “Mourning in 2011”. To all those who grieve for someone that they miss, I send my love and thank you for everything that you are sending out into the world. We Are All Involved!!!
For anyone who is currently grieving and are looking for a little guidance, here are some websites that I happened to come across.