Or how to face a situation like a funeral in a balance of what is politically correct and what is our genuine expression in the moment.
For the last two days I was in a situation of facing the death of a close person and the attendance of a funeral for the second time ever in my life and to say the least, I had not yet created a way in which I can trust myself in those situations considering there are several aspects that I got to take into account, leading to a situation where I doubted myself at times that can be uncomfortable yet entirely self-created of course. So I’ll share here the raw process of me going through the whole lay out of the points and the self-forgiveness process wherein I establish common sense and points for me to correct/align in future similar situations.
Even if I had dealt with the sadness point about this person eventually dying it an accepting it, realizing that as we know, no one ever really dies and he’s probably facing his process in the afterlife right now, at the same time having to also be participating in all the processes that come after the person dies with the family became a new set of situations that I had not faced in my life therefore they became quite a part of myself to get to know and investigate further.
First of all, saw a dead person for the first time in my life. I saw myself not wanting to do it based on some kind of fear of ‘seeing a dead person’ but I did it in order to do it for once and for all and I found it a bit disturbing to say the least, I judged doing so as a form of morbid move as if there was something ‘to see’ in a dead body at the same time, which ended up being a printed image in my mind that I got stuck on for some time, seeing myself imagining how I would look dead, how my partner would look dead, how my parents will look dead and in that moment I said to myself like ‘whoa wait a minute what am I participating on?’ which was of course just a mental stimulation with no practical use, not even if for the purpose of getting comfortable with the idea of all of us dying at some point anyways, because it’s not here so, just indulging in imagination about it won’t certainly be supportive at this very moment.
Many times before I’ve skipped funerals altogether, I did not see the point and also feared seeing others sad and so fearing myself becoming sad and in a powerless situation. But after a while of reading others’ experiences and considerations around funerals, I decided to attend and be part of most of the processes involved in it this time and ensuring that I was making a decision to do so as my own volition, not self-compromise, but this wasn’t entirely so in various moments where I consider I succumbed my idea/belief or perception of what others’ expectations were based on the situation, where I saw myself being torn into what I consider my self-honesty in those moments and doing what I thought was going to ‘please others’ based on expectations of what to be and do in such situations where people are visibly mourning.
One thing I recalled from my first funeral I attended back in 2001 is how I could not feel a thing, therefore I started thinking myself into sadness in order to cry and then feel like I had been up to the expectations of what goes on in a funeral. This time I decided to be there for my own sake and to be with my family which I can say is my family even if ‘political’ but have spent many times together with them so, yep it was of course sad for me but we got to know of this situation coming more than a month ago, so there was time to process it yet I found myself still not entirely settled in ‘who I am’ in moments of mourning and what to say or do to support others.
So here I’m starting to investigate my experience and make sense of it: what am I aware of? I made the decision to be accompanying the family in all the processes, from the waiting of the funerary services, which means seeing the body on the bed ‘as is,’ to seeing it leave to the funerary, to accompanying it to the funerary, to waiting for it to be received, etc. I saw it also as a learning experience, a first time in it all while also wanting to be of support in any way I could around there.
This part I found myself a bit too clumsy on, which might be a judgment. To me there was not so much of a point to have so many considerations for a body there, while I know that the being is no longer there and then it’s just a matter of rather being there for the family. It was surprising to find out about all the procedures and legal situations that need to be directed when a person dies – again, it was a learning experience but I also saw myself a bit conflicted in terms of whether I had to present myself in a particular situation or not. I decided to simply be a point of tranquility and stability during that phase to assist in any way I could – but there wasn’t anything I got to actually ‘do’ in it all but just be there.
This ‘just be there’ clicks in me as if it was something that was ‘not enough’ or ‘minimal’ but it is me, it’s my presence, not defined through a ‘doing’ per se, but we were there the same way that we had been with all the same people in previous family reunions.
When I saw that I got a bit too conflictive was when it comes to assessing what was ‘sufficient’ in terms of time and moments of being there with the family and it was actually many hours throughout the past two days, practically whole afternoon until midnight in all the processes and even if we were suggested that we could leave at any time, I would assess ‘in my mind’ based on ‘what is acceptable and what is not’ by others, how ‘others’ would see it and in this is where self-compromise existed. I didn’t want to leave the spot, I didn’t want to cause an impression of ‘not caring about the person’ because in fact even if my interaction with the person wasn’t ‘that much’ every time it was actually very genuine and that’s what I am most grateful for about that situation that we could go beyond ‘age difference’ or ‘roles’ and speak frankly about things, which is also he liked about myself and my partner, not really ‘playing a show’ or being hypocritical as he would say, but just ‘be ourselves.’
So, in those moments of facing some coldness and hunger at times, some sleepiness too, I saw that I wanted to ‘stick up’ to being strong or resilient and supportive, while at the same time doubting myself altogether whether I should be there or not, whether it was of any support for others or not, whether it was best for us to leave or not, so in essence deciding to stick by based on doing it for others, to accompany them and also in a way of considering the memory of the person that died even though I know that he’s not ‘here’ or near his body but possibly walking his life review right now.
I decided then that we should stick through it all from beginning to end, taking some breaks in between but it was my first ‘full-fledged’ process of funeral in my life and I can use this experience as a way to learn more about myself in a situation like that and also confronting the point of judging myself as ‘not sure of myself’ in many situations or how to ‘act’ towards some people, because sometimes one doesn’t feel sad and I tend to be very transparent about it then judging myself as possibly being perceived that ‘I don’t care enough because I’m not sad or concerned’ which I did challenge as a belief within myself, not playing an emotion as a form of empathy towards others, while at the same time yes considering others’ pain and sorrow, and in some points yes admitting that I cried along with seeing some family members cry at the same time as a realization of their loss and that’s where I pushed myself to give a hand, to caress their back and simply be there for support .
Therefore I see that I have to let go of the judgment towards my actions in wanting to frame them as adequate or not, good enough or not, because as much as there are ways and certain politics or protocols in such situations, I can create an equilibrium between yes, adapting myself to it without compromising myself too much.
Where did I see the compromise? Well, when the coffin was open and the body was inside, people were going to greet it and say their goodbyes. I could not rationalize that it would have any meaning other than looking at an image of the person in the body and upon seeing everyone’s reaction to it, I considered that it was also a bit of a morbid situation, while at the same time rationalizing that ‘ok, it’s just a dead body, if I am resisting looking at it again, it’s based on the first impression I had the day before I saw the body ‘raw’ on the bed where he died’ and this time he already had some touch ups from the funerary, so I decided to look at the body and then the inevitable happened of course, the image triggered the actual realization of ‘the person is dead’ and you won’t ever see him again. So, there I cried a bit again which a part of me wanted to prevent and suppress while another was saying just let go and cry it out, while at the same time judging the emotional aspect of myself since it seemed ‘out of my control’ to handle.
In essence, yes as one can read, I was in a constant assessment and questioning of ‘what would be best for all’ to do in those moments, so I decided to not look at what I would like to do that much, but more look at others, the reason for this funeral to exist is not so much for the dead person – he’s not here anymore –but for the family, and that’s something I kept reminding myself so focused on being there as a point of presence for my family, for the family in general and as partner says, we are part of a social situation so we have to participate the same way others do and yes, learn from this situation for future ones because death is the most certain thing that happens to every person and not even our ‘tomorrow’ is secured, to any of us.
I also practiced simply breathing and being quiet within myself in those moments where there wasn’t really ‘much to do’ or not much happened. I also didn’t go into participating in the thoughts or memories about the person because I knew that would be a direct trigger to start crying or being sad about it, and I didn’t do that. I focused on what was in my surroundings and learned to be there with others in a similar manner, while at the same time ensuring I am not taken over in any emotional way, except for the couple of crying moments that didn’t last long.
I realize I have to also let go of judging myself if getting emotional in a situation like that. As it’s been shared in some material, one can cry and let it all out as a point of release, but at the same time ensuring that one is not ‘thinking oneself into crying’ either.
It also was an interesting situation because funerals and the death of a relative are such ‘common situations’ but funnily enough I had avoided going at those for such a long time, though due to the closeness with this person, I genuinely decided to be part of it, which is cool, I can see that I decided to live the word Empathy here in the sense of not become equally sad as everyone there, but decide to stand as a presence that can be more stable, breathe, and simply be there as a person that is there in the memory of the person that died and to be with the family. Here I have to for a moment be considerate and let go of more of my ‘radical self’ that would say that it is all useless as he’s not ‘there’ anymore and it is only a way to cry-out many regrets, fears or projections of our own death, but nope, I decided to be clear within me and not project, not judge others but there still was more of a questioning on how adequate I was in those situations – and instead learn from it, not judge myself over it, because it is in fact something relatively new.
We can only learn from making either decision – one or the other – because as partner says, if one see-saws then there are fears and then I have to look at what were those fears which I can see are related more into ‘what others might say’ rather than learning to trust myself, my consideration and not fearing making a ‘mistake’ in such a ‘delicate situation’ but all of these are like ‘special values’ I’ve attached to a situation like a funeral, which I should start embracing as any other part of our social interactions too.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to project onto others ideas, beliefs and expectations about ‘how I should be and behave’ and in this compromising myself within these beliefs within me that I thought I had to ‘stick to’, which actually I ended up shattering once that I saw how the whole funeral indeed became like a small reunion of the family where eventually the sadness and protocol were past and people were able to relax a bit after some of the processes involved in the funeral were done, as well as realizing that I had created this whole idea about funerals in my head, from movies or situations that are not realistic in how things and people actually go and behave in them, so I confirm my own brainwashing, lol.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to judge my actions and interactions during a funeral as inadequate or possibly not good enough when there is actually no ‘standard’ for it all nor is there any morality that I should adjust to, other than instead going in accordance to the actions and activities that are part of the funeral and remain in stability while being accompanying others in such moments, letting go of the idea that I have to ‘be sad or show sadness’ and instead continue pushing myself to be ok with being stable and rather of a supportive stance in the midst of it all.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to judge crying in a funeral as a weakness, as a form of ‘being in my mind’ upon seeing the person in the coffin which actually could have also triggered the idea of ‘no longer seeing the person around’ while at the same time remembering the times with them, while at the same time invariably considering the death of everyone around me in that moment as something that I’ll face in one way or another – therefore, I can embrace death, death people as in dead bodies in front of me and see them for what they are, matter, while reminding myself that this funeral process is more for the living than the dead and that no matter ‘who dies’, I am here, I am breathing and anything I am fearing in relation to death I have to process for myself from the get go in order to not be holding on to judgments, ideas, beliefs around death and funerals and the social situation in it.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to create an idea that I should be ‘beyond’ this situation of funerals in terms of getting emotional in it, which can instead create a suppression if I have already participated in any form of sadness around it and as such, releasing it through crying makes sense for the body and myself, instead of holding myself back and causing more suppression in my body which I consider I created in me, experiencing a flu at the moment which sounds like a participation in the mind.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to participate in fears around the future of my parents dying, others in that same funeral dying and how I’ll have to take care of the situation which I managed to also turn into a constructive discussion with my parents to get to know more of the facts around their funerals and time of death, which has also become very much like a taboo topic that over the years I’ve been opening up more, but I could see how based on reactions I saw they had upon touching the subject, it was definitely not a ‘desired topic’ but they were ok to explain some things, which is cool and in this I rather turn those ‘fears’ into something practical where I know where I can look at the prevention and practicality of these points to look at.
I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to go into a future projection of how hard it must be to have parents die and how much I will cry or suffer when they are gone, and in doing so don’t stop myself from indulging into this imagination, wherein even if it could be a practical imagination and I considered how it would be reasonable to cry and be sad, there was also a fear of ‘not being able to be stable enough’ or ‘losing my ground’ which I rather hereby let go of the judgment towards a situation as the death of relatives, family, friends, partners that I will most likely face in my lifetime and instead be ok with whatever emerges in that moment, not judging sadness for the death of someone close to me as a weakness or a fall, but instead seeing it as a momentary process that I will also overcome with time and self-support, so here realizing that death of others is not the end of the world, no matter how hard it is at times, I am here, I’m breathing, I’m alive and so I rather not look too much into a future that I cannot ensure for myself either and instead, I can trust myself that when the time comes, I can deal with the situation in self-support.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to have tried to ‘break the taboo’ around the topic of death through speaking about it, asking how I would like to be buried or how others would like to be buried while at the same time still doing so within an inherent fear of actually having to face such moments – so here applies the point of ‘who we are’ in what we do, because even if I might seem comfortable in asking these questions and they can be in fact genuinely supportive to look at for practical reasons, if I am still existing as fear of facing those moments, then I am still having to let go of the fear of ‘what if’ for a future moment, stick to my present and trust myself I’ll be able to handle it when time comes, because death is the only certainty that we all have in this reality.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to go into a fear of loss toward the people that are close to me and wanting to believe that ‘I’ll survive it, I’ll be strong about it’ when in fact I don’t know and can’t know, and have to accept that it might not be an ‘easy time’ for me, yet what I do know is that I can eventually overcome it with continuing focusing on living and supporting myself.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to go into self-doubt about my actions and ways in general during a funeral wherein I am focusing more on what I am ‘for others’ and doing what is ‘expected’ instead of rather deciding to be the directive principle of myself there, doing what others do that I find is supportive like being there with the family, without indulging into emotions if they are not ‘here’ – meaning, not pretending for the sake of empathy – and at the same time, not judging myself if I do become emotional in them, wherein then I can come and write and see what other fears or points opened up in my through this experience and so instead of seeing this experience through the eyes of ‘fearing making a mistake’ or ‘not being up to the expectations’ – which are my own anyways – I can learn from myself in those contexts and continue being honest with myself about my experience, while realizing that I can stabilize myself and I can prevent emotional buildups through writing and reasoning through a death process as a preventive measure, but at the same time, not to judge if I cannot ‘contain’ myself in those moments. What matters is being able to stand up from those moments, not judging myself for being ‘at my weakest’ during the death of a person close to me.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to have wanted to play the strong one that doesn’t cry at all and that is ever stable when I have to also be self-honest in my experience and be ok with me being sad or crying at a funeral, while also keeping an eye on not being entertaining memories or ideas that lead to a continuous crying that is then being constantly generated by the mind and that I consider will also depend on the relationship with the person, the time spent with them and so not judging others when I do see them ‘break down’ and be very sad in those moments of mourning the death of a loved one. I have to embrace those situations as aspects of our humanity that might be difficult to completely face with zero emotions. Therefore not to judge myself as emotions, but rather ensuring I am not manipulating myself into emotions and instead let them out once that they are there and support myself to stand up again from such times/moments.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to consider that we will miss him in family reunions because of his good sense of humor, kindness and embracing towards us for who we are, understanding our sometimes unconventional ways of being and enjoying that of ourselves, believing that then ‘no one’ will have that same stance towards ourselves, but here I can then apply the ‘miss-him’ to me-is-him realization whenever in future moments it comes up that we are missing him in our reunions, to rather live that kindness, welcoming, embracing, non-compromising expression he had with us, as well as with a good sense of humor and live it out ourselves, to continue being cordial to others and rather continue applying those words as myself toward others. That way I take the words, the aspects of him that I found most supportive and enjoyable and make it a point to live them as myself and so toward others.
I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to feel a bit powerless in wanting to help others that were in notorious grief and wanting to assist them in one way or another, expecting some kind of ‘result’ from it, instead of rather being unconditional with my presence and support and understanding how my desire to stop them suffering is still coming from a fear of them remaining in suffering, so I rather let go of a desired outcome of what my support should do for others and instead express it as myself, no judgment, no expectation, letting go of what’s right or wrong, but be able to trust my common sense in such moments and let go of the judgments, no matter how ‘new’ a situation might be for me, common sense is common sense.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to create an expectation towards myself in a funeral as in ‘wanting to be of support for others’ and so trying to find any way in which I could be ‘there’ as a point of support, which didn’t came through in any notorious manner, therefore here I have to let go of my desire to ‘be of support’ and instead embrace my presence as that, a presence that is there for myself and for others wherein I can then assist when and as I see is possible or required of me, but this does not mean that I am ‘only there wanting to support’ because then I condition myself, my decisions and my expression as in wanting to be ‘of support’ for others only.
I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to at times also consider whether I should be there at all, if we were not much of an ‘extra burden’ in such moments where I was assessing then in terms of ‘hierarchy of importance’ and ‘who’s who in the zoo’ in that situation based on ‘how close’ each person was to the person that died etc. instead of just being able to embrace my own conviction of wanting to be there as my decision and that of everyone else that was also participating in their own decision – so I have to stop indulging into ‘what ifs’ in such situations, because yes as much as others could compromise themselves in not wanting to be rude to some people and ask them to leave, I also cannot create ideas about what others are desiring in relation to my presence there either. I can only be the one that is sincerely there as a personal conviction and so, others could do the same in relation to embracing me or not around and communicate about it.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to want to be ‘politically correct’ in a situation such as the death of a person, wherein it actually comes from a desire to be doing the ‘right thing’ in such situations but the reality is that it is many times a new experience for everyone therefore, there is no ‘right or wrong’ or expectations around it, but simply doing what’s necessary to do in such situations, following protocols while assisting oneself to remain calm and not feeding our minds with fears and experiences, while at the same time embracing the emotions if they are here at times.
I saw various points opened up throughout these past days and I noticed how in several moments I had to go making sure I am doing things within my own volition and decision, breaking through a pattern of avoiding funerals and instead testing out ‘who am I’ in them, in a way facing a fear of death in general I suppose that is more in relation to seeing others being sad or mourning and fearing that within myself.
I have to make peace with a process of mourning, that’s for sure and it’s something I’ll face probably several times in my life, therefore I rather assist myself with prevention and learning from this experience, which is another way to get to know myself.
Ultimately I have to consider and remind myself do as I’d like to be done unto – and in this yes I would not like people to be sad when I am dead but rather take one or two points they learned from me and live them through in their own lives, that would be awesome so, this process goes beyond ‘a funeral’ really, it can be turned into much more of what that person lived and what we can learn from each other and continue the life of these individuals through words we saw them live and live them ourselves.
Thanks for reading
For anyone seeking support on facing the death of loved ones , please read through the following blogs from Sunette to understand the process of mourning at a mind and physical level, very supportive:
To anyone wanting to know first hand shares from the life in the afterlife:
Death Review Series: This series consists of personal stories of beings during their process of death in various contexts and situations, detailing the relationship between the mind, body and beingness.
Life Review Series: This series consists of hundreds of personal stories of beings who passed, crossed over and reviewed their lives – all to share with us what they faced, what they learned and how they did or could have lived solutions.
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