Plenty of people will offer a neverending assortment of opinions about what you Should or Should Not do or have done, especially surrounding a death – about disconnecting life support, putting a pet to sleep, the funeral, the will, a memorial and so much more.
You may get disapproval, staring, whispered remarks – and this type of judgment is painful whether it is conducted to your face or behind your back.
Recently, a mentor of mine passed away after a long battle with cancer. Her memorial was not publicly announced, even though she was a public figure of some renown. Friends of mine took to Facebook to complain, saying that there "should" have been a public event and that people "should" have been notified. But soon afterwards, someone who was at the memorial made clear that these were the wishes of the deceased, who requested specific people and attendees and that it be kept private.
My own experience with this was at my mother's funeral. It is against Jewish tradition that
the funeral have flowers or that there be any ostentation, and that the body be entombed in a pine box. But my mother had been an elegant woman in her youth, and as she grew older, her appearance grew worse and worse - poor clothes and ill-kempt - and I could not send her on her journey with so little style. I buried her in a mahogony casket, covered with roses. I got the hairy eyeball from more than one cousin.... I said, tough! I felt good about honoring her with something gorgeous, which she never would have done for herself.
Take care when listening to harsh commentary. It really is about doing what you feel at this moment in time. Remember, you will not make perfect decisions, and that’s just fine. Again, do the best you can. Funeral practices are becoming a bit more flexible in terms of allowing celebrations of a person's life, and some may find this "inappropriate." That isn't really about you, but about their own discomfort.
This also includes Folks who try and delegitimize your pain, implying that you “should” not be sad because your loved one’s pain is over and they no longer suffer. You will feel the pain of the loss nonetheless. And of course, there is also the position that you "should" be over a loss by now....
These are layers of guilt and shame that you do not need. Keep people around you who will help you make decisions and support you, not criticize and judge you. Grieving is deeply personal and each loss is unique. Listen to things that serve you and move you towards healing, and reach out for help when you need it.
If you would like to speak to me personally about the above subject or any topic surrounding Grief, Loss, coaching or healing, click here to set aside a personal Free ½ Hour Empowerment Call. You are not alone.
Claire M. Schwartz
Leading You Back into the Light after Loss