Monthly Archives: July 2020

cremation services in Sterling Heights, MI

What Does Mourning Accomplish?

Before cremations as part of the cremation services offered in Sterling Heights, MI, the mourning process for someone who has died begins. Mourning the loss of a loved one serves a purpose for the living, and the process should eventually accomplish four very important tasks.

Mourning does not have a finite time limit. Everyone mourns for whatever time it takes them to complete the process. There is no right or wrong way to mourn. Just because your mourning doesn’t look like someone else’s mourning (or theirs doesn’t look like yours) doesn’t mean either of you are doing something wrong.

The five stages of grief made famous by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross don’t always happen in a specific order and they don’t always happen the same way to each person.

Mourning is a unique process for each individual, but the tasks that need to be accomplished by mourning the death of a loved one are the same.

The first task of mourning is the acceptance of the reality of the loss when a loved one has died. This acceptance doesn’t mean that all the realities that accompany death are understood or accepted, but it does mean that those who are mourning have recognized that they’ve experienced a permanent loss in this life.

The next task of mourning is to work through the pain of grief. How people do accomplish this task and how long it takes them to accomplish it is different from person to person.

No one enjoys having to deal with emotional pain, but for some people it is so difficult that they either ignore the pain, they suppress the pain, or they numb the pain. None of these approaches to emotional pain is healthy.

Ignoring emotional pain doesn’t make it go away. Suppressing emotional pain doesn’t lessen its effect. And numbing emotional pain is not only emotionally unhealthy, but can also be physically unhealthy as well.

Eventually, the pain of grief surfaces and it has to be addressed and dealt with, because it can’t be ignored, suppressed, or numbed forever.

It’s important to recognize that working through the pain of grief takes some people much longer than it does others. So just because somebody else is working through the pain of grief more slowly than others doesn’t mean they are not working through it. Be careful not to tell somebody that they need to move on and get over it, because you really don’t know how they’re working through this task.

The third task of mourning is adapted to a new environment where a loved one is absent. This can be extremely difficult, especially for spouses of and for children who were primary caregivers for the deceased loved one.

This new environment includes a permanent void that no one and nothing can fill. It’s an environment that also has practical barriers that may include finances, property, and companionship, among other things.

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Most grief experts strongly recommend that any big decisions (especially regarding finances and property), be put on hold for at least a year after a loved one has died. This isn’t a promise that everything will be fine in a year, but there will be more objective clarity in decision-making.

The last task of mourning is to find an enduring connection with the deceased loved one while beginning a new life without them. This connection may include adding rituals that honor their loved one, such as laying flowers at their grave each year on their birthday and being comfortable regularly thinking about and sharing memories of them.

For information about cremation services in Sterling Heights, MI, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral Home is here to assist you.

funeral homes in Sterling Heights, MI

How to Explain Funerals to Children

Before funerals at funeral homes in Sterling Heights, MI, children who are old enough to comprehend – children under five years of age are probably too young – the death and loss of a loved one should know what has happened, know what is going to happen, and be included in the entire process that accompanies the death of someone we love.

While children don’t have the emotional maturity or the complexity of emotions that adults may experience when someone they love has died, it’s important to know that children can still grieve the loss more intensely than you might expect, especially if they were very close to the person who has died.

First, you should explain to your children that death is part of life and that the grief that comes with death is normal. You should also explain to your children that grief varies from person to person, even within the same immediate family, so they know to expect that grief will have different faces. By explaining how grief works, you can help your children know that how they grieve and express that grief is normal and nothing to be ashamed of.

Next, you should explain the funeral process to your children. Be sure to be specific. Let them know what to expect at the visitation. It can be very shocking – and perhaps even scary – for children to see someone they love lying in a casket, motionless, with their eyes closed, and their hands folded over each other, and almost looking like the person did when they were alive. It can also be surprising for children to touch their loved one’s body and discover that it is very cold.

You should explain visitation protocol to your children. Explain to them that they’ll be up front in the funeral home beside you and the rest of the family and people will come by and express their condolences. You need to make sure that you also prepare your children for the kinds of grief they might see, because they will likely see a range of emotions they have not experienced before.

Then, you should explain the funeral service to your children. Often, older children in the immediate family of the loved one who died may be asked to do readings as part of the funeral service.

grief supportGo through the order of the funeral service with your children so they know what to expect and so that they understand the purpose of each part of the service, both as a matter of tribute to your deceased love one, and as a source of comfort for everyone who is mourning their loss.

Finally, you should explain the graveside service to your children. Tell them what its purpose is and how it’s different from the funeral service. Let them know that the casket will be sitting above the cemetery plot where your loved one will be buried, because they’ll see the dirt that has been dug out around it.

The first few days between the death of a loved one and their burial are often so busy that they’re a blur and the reality of them being permanently gone doesn’t fully sink in. However, once the funeral process is over, the real grieving often begins. Discuss the grief process openly with your children and encourage them to talk about how they’re feeling with you. Watch for signs of withdrawal and depression and consider grief counseling if these become protracted.

For more information about grief resources at funeral homes in Sterling Heights, MI, our compassionate and experienced staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral Home can help.

cremation services offered in Clinton Township, MI

Letting Go or Holding On with Terminal Illnesses

Before cremations as part of the cremation services offered in Clinton Township, MI, advanced age or terminal illnesses are often what ends up causing a loved one to die. Our society puts a premium value on living and it suggests that we do everything in our power to avoid and delay – even though it eventually comes – death.

Dylan Thomas’ famous poem, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, is a good example of this mindset. In the poem, the narrator urges his aging father to “rage against the dying of the light.” However, this mindset can ultimately end in a life that may have quantity, but that has little or no quality. It can also lead to unnecessary pain and suffering for the person who is dying.

We seem to have an instinctive desire to continue to live. We experience this desire as wanting to eat, to do things, to learn, to grow, and to look forward to the future. We have very strong emotional attachments to other living things, including our families, friends, and pets, and we don’t want to leave them. While we aren’t able to decide to continue to live, our actions can make living automatic.

When age and terminal illnesses reach an advanced stage, our thoughts are not of ourselves, but of others. We want to be with our loved ones and we may even feel a responsibility to not fail them or cause them pain and grief by dying and leaving them.

We may have unfinished business in the form of making amends or reconciling relationships. We may fear losing control of our lives, being dependent on others, what will happen as we die, and what will happen after we die.

All of these things may bother us so much that we find them difficult to think about. It is not uncommon for feelings or resentment, guilt, sadness, and anger, when the time comes that we have to face them, to arise with both the person who is terminally ill and their caregiver(s) because nobody wants to end up this way or see anybody else end up this way.

Even as death approaches, however, usually a sense of hope remains. But what that hope looks like changes as death nears. While it once may have been hope for the illness to be cured or for a little more time, hope is now transformed into present and immediate terms: a good night, one more visit with friends or loved ones, or, perhaps, an easy death.

Eventually, in the days and weeks before death, many people don’t have a desire to live anymore. They are not suicidal nor are they depressed. Instead, they have an innate sense that it’s time to let go.

This may manifest itself as a profound tiredness that doesn’t go away with rest. Often people reach a point where they’ve hit the limit of how much effort they can put into prolonging life. While refusing to let go may prolong life a little, death is still inevitable. Prolonging death may translate into a time when more suffering than living actually happens.

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Some family members and friends also reach a point where they understand that letting go is best for them and their loved one. They’ve seen their loved one fight, struggle, and suffer, and they don’t want them to experience any more of that. Other family members and friends, however, may not be able to accept that dying is the next best step for their loved one and they may refuse to believe that is what’s happening.

Letting go does not mean our loved one wants to die. Instead, it is an expression of their acceptance that death is the next step in their journey.

For information about cremation services in Clinton Township, MI, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral Home is here to assist you.

funeral homes in Clinton Township, MI

Not Expressing Grief is Unhealthy

Because, in the midst of COVID-19, funerals at funeral homes in Clinton Township, MI are anything but traditional, being limited to 10 or less people, which makes them more private and offers less in-person comfort and support, you may discover that you’re having difficulty expressing grief for the loss of your loved one.

In some cases, it is normal to temporarily suppress grief after the death of a loved one. There are many things that need to be done when someone dies, and that means pulling your emotional act together enough to get them taken care of in a timely manner.

You may also temporarily suppress your grief because it’s too overwhelming in the moment and you need a brief respite from its effects.

Both of these types of grief suppression are normal and healthy ways to handle intense grief because they involve recognition that you need to take care of yourself at that moment in time.

However, making a habit of not expressing grief each time it surfaces is unhealthy, and can result in health problems, emotional problems, and mental problems like depression and anxiety.

When grief is suppressed instead of experienced, no matter how painful that may be, it becomes incomplete grief. There are several signs of incomplete grief.

One sign is irritability or anger that gets worse with time and can erupt into an explosion or violence. When you habitually don’t express grief, things build up inside with no outlet or expression.

Your body, mind, and soul has limits to how long you can do this until it becomes too big and too much to handle or keep suppressed. Usually the trigger that lets it all out is insignificant, and often observers will wonder why the reaction is so extreme in comparison to the trigger.

Another sign of incomplete grief is long-term obsession with missing your loved one.

It is normal in the first few weeks or months to think a lot about the death of your loved one and for their loss to hurt deeply. Your will find yourself repeatedly reviewing your relationship with and death of your loved one in great detail during these first weeks and months as your process your loss.

However, if you get stuck in a repetitive reviewing loop, you will not be able to move forward in the grief process, and you may find yourself shutting down when you hit certain points in the review where you feel guilt or regrets and it’s too late to fix them.

Hyperalertness and fear of loss is also a sign of incomplete grief. They are characterized by continuous anxiety and the pervasive feeling that nothing’s safe, everything’s fragile, and everyone is vulnerable. As a result, you become hypersensitive to everything and develop an obsessive need to always be prepared for the worst possible outcome.

Apathy, numbness, and low-grade depression are additional signs of incomplete grief. Apathy becomes apparent when you no longer take pleasure in or enjoy doing things that you once enjoyed. In fact, you may feel as though you really don’t care about anything anymore.

Numbness is a blunted emotional reaction that makes it hard to imagine feeling anything at all, no matter whether it’s happy or sad.

grief support

Low-grade depression is characterized by a lack of energy, a sense of hopelessness, and dark thoughts that you find persist over an extended period of time.

Utilizing grief resources such as counseling and therapy are an excellent way to resolve incomplete grief.

For more information about grief resources at funeral homes in Clinton Township, MI, our compassionate and experienced staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral Home can help.