Standing at the back of a packed church this past week, I watched as family and friends gathered to celebrate the life of a woman who had passed away from cancer. As my eyes welled up with tears, on more than one occasion, I realized that although she was a relative of my husband, funerals bring out so much human emotion.
As I stood there, with my husband nestled close to me, I realized that she died from the same cancer that my husband had overcome. I thought of all of the times when we were worried he would not be able to continue his treatments. I also listened to and watched as individuals shared their own tears.
Sometimes when we are at a funeral, the experience tends to bring out any grief that we are carrying. The grief may be unrelated, but it is still grief. We all have our own reasons to cry.
Just last week my aunt was discussing how grief can manifest in many forms such as sadness, frustration, fear, anger, confusion, and more. Grief is very complex and layered. It is like buried pain that can be caused from a loss of any kind.
Grief can be the loss of freedom to the loss of a loved one to the loss of animals to the loss of a relationship. We can also grieve the loss of our health, a job, a home or anything stressful or traumatic that we have had to deal with. Grief can be triggered at any moment and can be cumulative, over many years.
I began to think about how the family would move forward without their wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother. I wondered how her husband would be able to manage the day to day chores and responsibilities. I thought about my family and felt grateful we are all in good health.
The most significant thing that came to mind though, was how resilient human beings are. Even when faced with extreme circumstances or situations, human beings are able to get through. We connect, join with others in our times of need and somehow we are able to survive.
As guests filled every single seat in the church and spilled over for standing room only, I felt appreciative and knew that the support that this family had would carry them all through. When crisis happens, the very best in people comes out. We are kind, helpful, supportive, caring and attentive. We cry, we hug and we listen.
This is what I believe is the root of all of us – goodness. Goodness is what we are really made of. I believe it is unresolved grief, in many forms that causes the goodness to be overshadowed. I suppose the best thing we can do for this world is to acknowledge and heal from our own grief.
Being at the funeral made me think about any resolved grief that I was carrying and how this may be causing extra stress in my life. What might you be grieving and how can you take care of yourself? You might be surprised what could still be impacting your life.
It is only then, once we have awareness of any lingering grief, that we can be the best version of ourselves, for others. It is time for all of us to heal, because it may be what has been keeping us stuck….
‘Grieving allows us to heal, to remember with love rather than pain. It is a sorting process. One by one you let go of the things that are gone and you mourn for them. One by one you take hold of the things that have become a part of who you are and build again.’ ~ Rachel Naomi Remen