At funerals in Burlington, WA funeral homes, it’s not uncommon to, in the days of tumultuous grief following the death of a loved one, suddenly see them in unrealistic terms. We tend to wrap our loved ones up in superlatives, ignoring their humanity and our own, that make them larger than life. But we aren’t being honest about them or with ourselves when we do this.
To say things about our loved ones like that they were the most awesome people ever and that they never complained about anything is our default way to describe our deceased loved ones. And, yet, it’s not true. If we’re human, we have complained about something somewhere in our lives. While we may be striving to be good and decent people, none of us – not even our deceased loved ones – are the most awesome people.
When we use phrases like this, we make our loved ones larger than life and we miss the endearing humanity of the lives they actually lived. While we don’t want to hang out all the dirty laundry of their lives, we should strive for an honest portrayal of their struggles, their ups and downs, their successes and their failures, and, in the process, show the places where they beat the odds, overcame the obstacles, and moved forward at times when it didn’t like they had any place to go.
We should talk about how they did this, because there are the lessons for all the rest of us – those who are listening among the mourners – and these stories, true, honest and forthright, can inspire us, because we have struggles, ups and downs, and successes and failures as well.
Hearing how our deceased loved ones met the challenges that life brought gives not only gentle instruction, but also hope that we too will be successful in meeting the challenges presented to us in our own lives. When we drop the mythological phrases and presentations of our loved ones, we see the real human story. We find places in their lives that mirror places in our own lives and we may find, from their examples, a different perspective, another avenue to try, or a unique approach that may change the course of own lives.
Funerals are not just for comfort, for support, and for encouragement, although those are all very important aspects of why we have the funeral rituals that we do. They should be classrooms where we can learn from those that have gone on before us. Maybe we didn’t listen as closely as we should have to their stories when they were alive. Maybe their stories didn’t seem all that important when they were still with us.
But death suddenly brings all that history of the loved ones who’ve died to the forefront. Those histories suddenly take on new meaning as we focus on them as we grieve and we remember and we honor the people we love. The nuggets of wisdom, experience, and understanding come out of our retrospection and they are worth sharing, not just to show respect for our deceased loved ones, but also to pass on to other. We never know who among the mourners may need to hear the real stories of a real human being, so that they can move forward in their own lives.
Be kind, but be honest.
For additional information about funeral homes, our compassionate and experienced team at Moles Farewell Tributes & Crematory – Bayview Chapel is here to help. We also serve the areas of Burlington, Bellingham, Ferndale and Mount Vernon, WA. You can stop by our funeral home at 2465 Lakeway Dr., Bellingham, WA 98229 or you can contact us today at (360) 733-0510.