Have you ever thought that because funeral directors deal with death on a daily basis, that they are somehow different to other people? That perhaps they don’t feel the pain of loss like everyone else does?
Well, that not’s so. Funeral professionals experience grief and loss, just as all humanity has done, since time began. And like everyone else, remembering our loved ones is paramount. It means a great deal to us, that they live on, in memory. Let me share a personal example with you.
A chance encounter
A few months ago, I was at our local cemetery, packing away all the equipment we’d used after a funeral ceremony had taken place. A lady who’d been at the funeral – I’ll call her Sandra – wandered over towards me, just as all the mourners were leaving. I’d seen her down the street a few times, with her husband, but I’d never spoken to her before.
“I knew your brother at school” Sandra began, by way of introduction. At that, I stopped what I was doing. “He was always the livewire in the classroom” Sandra continued, smiling. “I was fortunate to have been in his class”.
I was surprised and grateful that Sandra had taken the time to mention this to me. You see, my brother had died way back in 1964, so the chance of anyone remembering him was slim. And the chance of anyone bothering to take the time to mention him and share their memory of him was even more remote. Sandra’s simple gesture meant a lot to me.
It takes courage though
Some of us may have been in a similar position where we could have shared a memory, as Sandra did that day at the cemetery. But we hesitate, thinking “maybe it’s better if I don’t mention it”. We fear our recollections may be upsetting – they may bring renewed pain, rather than gratitude. Yet for most of us, one of our fears when a loved one dies is that they’ll be forgotten. So if we can speak their name, or share a memory, they will not be just a part of the past, lost in the mists of time.
A friendship formed
I’ve seen Sandra a number of times since that day – at the post office, or in the supermarket. I always greet her warmly, because she’s someone special to me now. She showed me how much it means to know that our loved ones live on, in memory.