Many are aware that they should express their heartfelt feelings to the important people dearest to them during important celebrations such as Valentine’s Day, Parents’ Day, Mid-Autumn Festival and the Double Ninth Festival. However, very few people understand the significance of funerals.
In ancient times, the purpose of funerals was to ensure the dead were properly laid to rest; but in modern times, its purpose is more to commemorate and remember the life of the deceased and to give those left behind the opportunity to heal and adjust to the loss of a loved one, as well as to give them and ourselves a chance for a proper farewell.
Funerals allow us to express our emotions. When people are faced with something painful and traumatic, they often choose to avoid it or be in denial. They bury themselves in work or other affairs to escape dealing with the grief. However, funeral rites can allow the grieving person to take a moment and come to terms with death and their personal emotions. Funerals allow us to openly express and vent our emotions, and organise our thoughts; to not suppress or ignore our emotions concerning the death of a loved one.
Funerals allow us to remember the dead. Through funerals, we can directly face our feelings about the death of a loved one, and allow family and friends to speak their thoughts, their stories on getting along with the deceased, as well as their bits and pieces of life with that person. These scenes of life vividly reflect visions of the deceased, as if the person is right there with us – so that we can recall moments of joy and good times shared, instead of constantly being in pain from the parting.
Funerals allow us to re-examine our relationship with the deceased and share these bits of memories of life with others. The many beautiful stories and memories shared at the funeral help family and friends see the deceased from different perspectives, and commit the relationship with that person from “these moments” to memory. Funerals provide us with a chance to say, “Thank you for being there; I’m sorry I was wrong; I really love you; you will forever be in my heart; and you are very important to me.”
Every ritual at a funeral is a way to accept the fact that we have lost a loved one, and the loss of a loved one is an unavoidable life experience for everyone and it is also a process. Therefore, we should not only participate in the entire process, but also face and express it more earnestly.
How do we face the rest of our lives after the death of a loved one?
Begin by accepting the loss, and through the funeral, cherish him or her in your heart.