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|Written by Alexandra Trottier|
|Wednesday, 30 September 2009 07:16|
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There is no question that the loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult and emotionally draining experiences a person will go through in their life. These feelings of sadness are legitimate, and, for the most part, universal.There is something to be said, however, about our culture's obsession with mortality. We are constantly bombarded with ads that promise us a more youthful glow, selling us immortality in a bottle and promising that we will remain forever young. Meanwhile, we are simultaneously presented with the quintessential image of death -- a coffin being lowered six-feet under, surrounded by weeping mourners, dressed in black, drying their tear-stained eyes with hankies.
While the sadness we feel at the passing of a loved one is a natural emotion, perhaps our obsession with escaping death, partnered with our culture's somber funeral customs, highlights our natural levels of sorrow and multiplies them into levels of full-on depression.
The truth is that our departed wouldn't want us to be tormented by their passing. They would want us to move on with our lives, and to enjoy the precious time that we're still lucky enough to have.
While the tears are unavoidable, here are some ways that we can turn our mourning of death into a celebration a life.
Black is the shade of choice for funeral fashions, and while it is very slimming, it is also a reminder that we are in mourning. Shed those gloomy ensembles and opt for a more free spirited style with bright colours. You can still dress appropriately and respectfully without looking like the grim reaper.
2) No Impersonal Eulogies
While some religious customs may contradict this point, I always hate it when I go to a funeral where the spiritual leader talks about the deceased as if they were best friends in life, while in reality they never even met. It is always nice to have those closest to the departed say at least a few words.Plant a tree or some other form of plant-life in honour of the deceased.
What would really bring all the mourners together, however, would be if everyone attending the service, or at least those in the immediate group, share something about the departed. It could be a favourite memory, something only you knew about them, something you loved about them, or maybe even something you hated. Sharing your connection will make it comfortable for others to follow your example, and, before you know it, you'll be learning something new about the person you loved even after they're gone.
3) Music Heals the Heart
While funeral parlors will sometimes play somber death-march sounding music, I think most people would prefer a happier tune to go off into eternity with. Why not play a song that celebrates life like "Joy to the World" by Three Dog Night, "Beautiful Day" by U2, or a favourite song of the deceased?
4) A Picture's Worth a 1000 Words
Nothing goes better with music than a picture slide show. Having pictures from throughout the person's life playing behind their coffin will add warmth to the coldness of the funeral. Home videos are also great to include, once again focusing on the life of the person rather than their death.
5) From Death Comes Life
When explaining death to a child, one will often include the sentiment that the passing of one life opens room for a new life to begin. What better way to symbolically showcase this than to plant a tree, or some other form of plant-life, in honour of the deceased?
Continued on page 2.