It begins when we are called upon to care for one of our parents and we come to the difficult realization that Mom or Dad is dying. Then, after the loss, we struggle with the pain of our grief and perhaps some unresolved issues in our relationship with our parents. We may then lose a second parent and experience the special pain of becoming an adult "orphan." When our parents die and we are adults, we"re expected to say, "This is an appropriate death. My father or mother has lived a full life. It is their time. I"m okay with that." But we are not okay with it; losing a parent at any age is a profound loss. Death is overwhelming. Before I could adjust to losing one the other was gone. I didn't just lose my parents; my mother was my best friend. Grieving is normal and it takes time. Some say two years or more when we lose someone special. The effects of death are devastating, but to grieve is normal and the depth of our pain varies among us. .
The funeral is the beginning of your healing. You will be involved in selecting the service, planning the funeral, choosing a place of burial, if this has not been previously arranged. Flowers for the casket will be selected, picking pall bearers, and other details. You will go on a shopping expedition unlike any other. You"ll be standing inside a room filled with coffins, each with a lid up, like rows of grand pianos. The funeral director will excuse himself so you and close family members can be alone. There will be cards lying in the caskets with information about the quality and price; some even come with a guaranty. Decisions to be made are endless. The funeral director will guide you in each of these decisions. He will remember them. He will tell you when each decision needs to be made. He will not make the decisions for you, but he well not let you leave anything out. Writing a eulogy is an extraordinary catharsis. Putting words on paper gets you in touch with your feeling and gives a unique opportunity to pay tribute to someone you love.