My uncle died this week. It was expected. Cancer. It still does not make the loss any less. If you have read some of my stuff you will find I suffer from what I call “Good Girl” syndrome. (see links below). The basic premise is that I often feel this immense drive to please, what I view as, authority figures. With that being said, I have struggled with whether or not to go to the funeral.
Some may say, you must go to honor your uncle. Also there’s the aspect of being there for my mom. It’s her brother in law. When I start to think of those things the good girl in me says: You must do this. You are obligated to do this. If you don’t do this everyone will think you are “bad” or “wrong”.
But what if I handle grief differently? What if since the death of my husband and more recently my brother, I feel that funerals are not something I can handle at this time? Is it still “wrong”? Am I “bad”? I’ve spoken with my mom and she is OK with me staying home. She is going down with my other uncle. (He lived in another state) They are very close and will be supportive of each other. Plus I was able to see my uncle last weekend before he passed. With that I feel at peace.
I know my limits. After dealing with years of trying to achieve being perfect and to overcome grief, I’m finally in a good place. Right now, for me, a funeral would be too much.
So consider that: limits. Only you can answer the question: What are your limits? Only you know what you are capable of dealing with at this time. Don’t worry about what others will think of you. Don’t worry what you are “supposed” to do in that situation. You have to do what’s right for you. What you need for your own definition of grief. You cannot always rely on others to look out for your well-being. Make yourself a priority.
If going to a funeral is not an option for your grief, consider offering condolences online. Many funeral homes currently offer this as an option. Of course sending flowers is an old standard that has been done to show support and sympathy for a family. Sending a card via the old snail mail is another good way to express your grief and offer support. Sometimes sending something the old fashion way creates a stronger sense of caring. I’ve also spent time making scrap books in memory of loved ones and friends who have passed. I have made shadow boxes with memorabilia in them. Those are some creative outlets. You could also write a song or a poem. And of course there is the option of obtaining some counseling. Maybe going to a funeral is not a way for you to handle your grief but you may find another way that feels right for you.
Explore your options, but whatever you do, please take care of yourself. YOU are the only YOU that will ever be and that’s important!
Want to learn more about perfectionism or grief? Consider reading these other articles by me: