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Are “Happy” Funerals Hindering the Grieving Process?

Many of us choose to look at funerals as a celebration of life, rather than a mourning of the loss of someone close. This view is often taken as a way to shine a positive light on one of the hardest times in our lives. However, a recent study has found that this positive outlook may be hindering the grieving process for our loved ones and prolonging the mourning phase.

What Are the Consequences?

The Metropolitan Cemeteries Board of Western Australia is pushing for further research on the consequences of not dealing with the death of a loved one and how this might affect society for Australians.

We know that families and friends view funeral services as a way to honour and remember the deceased, and that this may take the form of a celebration rather than a sorrowful time for grieving, depending on the individual.

The request for further research comes as members of the board have found that the typical Australian reportedly feels frustration and anger around the death of a loved one when not allowed to grieve. It is their belief that funerals which tend to celebrate a life, rather than grieve a death, are not allowing the mourners to deal with the loss appropriately.

Funerals that hold religious value are often ritualised and allocate specific time for reflection and grief. According to Peter Deague, Chief Executive of the Metropolitan Cemeteries Board of WA, this is what allows them to begin to heal.

How Do We Deal With Grief?

Traditional beliefs imply that humans experience precise stages of grief, almost identical in each person, however, the length of these stages are different for each person. It’s generally thought that the length and type of grieving varies greatly, depending on the individual’s personality and the manner in which their loved one passed.

However, author Ruth Davis Konigsberg directly refutes the traditional stages of grieving in her book, “The Truth about Grief”, as she believes positive emotions can also play a pivotal role in the grieving process. In her book she states that it can take the average person six months for grief to pass, but that this figure can change depending on the person.

Grief counsellor Robyn O’Connell stated in an interview with Sydney Morning Herald that the mere time in which Australians are ordered to organise a funeral following their loved one’s death can often be a hindrance to grief itself, due to the stressors sometimes involved with planning the event.

People may feel guilt around celebrating life rather than mourning it, but as Western civilisation shifts more towards a religion-free mindset, it becomes more likely that we will see these forms of funeral service increasing.

Grieving Is Personal

Regardless of the findings and studies, funerals should be a time where families and loved ones create their own unique process to grieve for, and honour, the deceased. Different religions and cultures will often dictate how a service is run, otherwise, the tone of the ceremony will be set by the family.

At Southern Cross Funerals, we are privileged to work with the people of Sydney, Western Sydney, and the Central Coast in providing funeral services for your loved ones. Our family is available to take your enquiry anytime, on 02 9529 6644, and can the burden of managing the service from you. Our aim is to see you have as little worry as possible, to allow you your own time to grieve.