MEMORIALIZING LOVED ONES THROUGH LIFE CELEBRATIONS

If you have attended a funeral service recently, you may have noticed that it was a little more upbeat and celebratory than the services you attended when you were a young adult or child. With the baby boom population being 75 million strong, it’s no surprise that today’s funeral services have become “Life Celebrations” instead of a room full of friends and family wearing black attire and sad faces.

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GOT WINTER GRIEF - JOIN A SUPPORT GROUP

Although it took a little longer for the cold, icy and grey weather to roll into Central Kentucky this year, Winter seems like an eternity for those of us who like the more moderate Spring temperatures living just south of the Mason Dixon line gifts to us. For many people though, the bone chilling weather bring with it sickness, depression and grief.  These illnesses can be caused by something as simple as being vulnerable to sickness to suffering from seasonal affective disorder to coping with a recent loss of loved one.

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GOT WINTER GRIEF? - JOIN A SUPPORT GROUP

Although it took a little longer for the cold, icy and grey weather to roll into Central Kentucky this year, Winter seems like an eternity for those of us who like the more moderate Spring temperatures living just south of the Mason Dixon line gifts to us.


For many people though, the bone chilling weather bring with it sickness, depression and grief. These illnesses can be caused by something as simple as being vulnerable to sickness to suffering from seasonal affective disorder to coping with a recent loss of loved one. Whatever the cause, grieving from a loss is difficult.


The death of someone you loved changes you forever. Before you can live again, it is necessary to travel a journey through grief.


According to Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition, mourners traveling the grief journey need to go through 6 steps in order to heal.


The first step according to Dr. Wolfelt is the act of acknowledging the reality of death. Whether the death of the person you loved was sudden or anticipated, it can take time to accept that the death has occurred. Reality is difficult to recognize, but with time, you will move on to the next step in your journey.

Embracing the pain of loss is the second step of the grief journey. Dr. Wolfelt states that it is easier to avoid, repress or deny the pain of grief than it is to confront it, yet it is in confronting the pain that allows people the opportunity to travel through the journey.


The third step in the grief journey is remembering the person who died. When death occurs, it is so much easier for people to encourage you to clean out the person’s closet and sell your house than it is to share moments looking at videos and photos together while talking about the wonderful memories you shared with the deceased. Dr. Wolfelt said by remembering the past the future will be open to new experiences.


After a death, you simply aren’t the same person you were before the death. In such, the fourth step in the grief journey is developing a new self-identity. If by chance, your grief is a result of a spouse dying, then you go from being a “wife” or “husband” to a “widow” or “widower”. With the absence of your spouse, you may have new responsibilities such as paying the bills, taking the garbage out or washing the laundry. As you travel through the fourth step, you will take on a new

identity that empowers you to live with your new self-identity.


Whether the deceased dies naturally and it was expected or if death was traumatic and unexpected, it is natural to ask “Why?” and “How?” There is no doubt that death leaves people feeling out-of-control. You may even feel like you or someone else is to blame for the death. So. the fifth stage of the grief journey is all about searching for the meaning of why and how someone died. Dr. Wolfelt said, this is the stage that calls on you to confront your own spirituality.


The sixth step of grief is all about receiving ongoing support from others. Traveling the grief journey should never be done in isolation. You need others to support you through each of the 6 steps. You need hugs and kind words of encouragement. You need someone to listen to you and cry with you. While many people who are grieving are able to get the help they need from family and friends, others need the help from professional counselors. It is important to recognize when it is time to get professional help.


There are several organizations who offer support groups in the Central Kentucky area including churches, Hospice of the Bluegrass, hospitals and your funeral director. Beginning in March on the third Tuesday of every month at 6:30pm, Milward will host a monthly support group at its Man O’ War location at 1509 Trent Boulevard utilizing Dr. Wolfelt’s book, “The Ten Essential Touchstones,”. Anyone grieving is welcome to attend the Milward Support Group; however, Milward is also available to help you find other groups that fit your needs or schedule. RSVP at 859-272-3414.

KIM WADE

Kim Wade has been a marketing consultant for more than 20 years specializing in the funeral industry. Currently, she is the Community Relations Director for Milward Funeral Directors, the 37th- oldest continuously operated family business in the United States which operates three locations in Lexington including its Celebration of Life center at 1509 Trent Boulevard. Kim can be reached at marketing@milwardfuneral.com or 859-252-3411.

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