Death is a part of life – that part we don’t want to face or acknowledge. What has the most televised funeral in the world triggered for you over the past two weeks?
I’m known for being able to talk about tough stuff with my audiences, in a real and vulnerable way. Reframing disruption of any kind is one of my key areas of focus. I’ve been lifting the lid off death with my audiences since brutally losing my husband in an armed home invasion at the end of 2017. I share the importance of the power of rituals, community, and the actual process of grieving itself. These are healthy ways of integrating loss through death into our lives.
The rituals following a death.
The rituals surrounding the death and funeral of Queen Elizabeth II have provided incredible visual examples of the power of social grieving in community, of allowing people to mourn publicly but with dignity. Some of the things we have witnessed that supports the processing of grief include some of the following:
- The laying of flowers and cards
- The gathering of people
- The procession of the coffin from place to place
- The walk of family members behind the coffin on the gun carriage
- The handing over of the coffin from family to the state
- The mourners queuing for hours together in quiet, patient and reverent contemplation
- The sound of marching
- The sound of music
- The sound of prayers, readings, speeches and eulogies
- The personal memories and stories being shared about the Queen by those who knew her (famous or not)
- The following of a set order of events (as any funeral or memorial service does)
- The slow pace of the process, provides time and breathing-space to feel
Grief in Action
So much of what I have listed above is grief in action. Grief for me is not just a feeling, it’s an active process full of verbs ending in ‘ing’ such as:
Motion, or doing grief, is required to get through grief so as not to get stuck in grief.
Doing grief together, in community with others, is so much easier than doing it alone. Spare a thought for those who had to grieve alone at the height of the global pandemic.
With social grieving, there is social learning and social healing.
Whenever we are touched by the passing of another, it triggers us to revisit our own losses of special people in our lives. We absorb the loss in layers and adjust to it over time.
Endings are also new beginnings, inviting us to rediscover and reinvent ourselves through loss and grief. Death is a reminder of what it means to love and be human.
What has the most televised funeral in the world triggered for you?