Why Parent’s Day Should Be An Annual Event At Your Funeral HomeJuly 23rd, 2016
For the luckiest people in tragic situations, there is an outpouring of support, love, encouragement and help in the days and weeks following the loss of a loved one. But once the flowers have wilted and bereavement leave ends, family members are generally expected to begin healing—an idea that often translates to moving on with your daily motions and returning to life’s normal routine, as if everything is the same as it was before loss.
Especially for those grieving the loss of a parent, that routine may never feel normal again. Long after the sympathy cards have stopped filling up the mailbox, the grief remains, and sometimes it just takes just one tiny reminder to trigger a sense of mourning all over again.
Birthdays, the holiday season, Mother’s and Father’s Day, and Parent’s Day—this Sunday, July 24—can all be painful and unexpectedly harsh reminders of loss for the families you serve ﹘ and not just in the first year after the passing. It’s not uncommon for families to feel renewed feelings of grief even after years have passed, especially when we’re confronted with the sentiments of special days meant to be spent with family and loved ones.
Your job is not just to help the families you serve prepare arrangements after a tragic loss, but to also lend your support to folks who may need help navigating their grief in the weeks and months after. Here are a few ways you can continue helping your families who are experiencing grief on Parent’s Day ﹘ and every other day of the year.
For the families who have already said goodbye…
Remember their loss on a personal level, and let them know they aren’t alone in their remembering. With the help of your funeral home staff, you might consider a yearly remembrance gesture to assure your families that you and your community are still a support system for them, and that no one has forgotten or underestimated the weight of the loss of their parent.
Maybe it’s a small mailed note card with just a few words, or even an email that you send on the anniversary of the funeral service you provided. Sometimes, just knowing that someone acknowledges that mourning doesn’t simply end after the funeral service is a powerful way to feel supported in your recurring moments of grief.
Host a virtual or in-person remembrance day once a year. Talking about our lost loved ones is one way we remember, heal and feel close to them again. For folks who’ve lost a parent, there is no shortage of memories, happy occasions, traditions, and even keepsakes around the home that provide an access point to fond memories. Give your families an outlet to share their memories, and let them find joy in telling others what a sweet and special person their mother or father was in their life.
You can do this physically by hosting an event where families can gather socially—perhaps a Parent’s Day barbecue or a support group around the holidays. You can also make it a virtual event, by creating a Facebook group or event page on a recurring yearly date where people can post photos, videos, and their favorite family memories.
For the families seeking your support right now…
Arrange a volunteer program for day-to-day support. When trying to return to a normal routine, the small daily tasks can feel like climbing Mt. Everest to a person who has just lost their parent. Many people spend the first few days and weeks expending all their energy on getting up and going to work, or getting their kids off to school, or just managing to keep the electricity on. Dog walking, meal prepping, grocery shopping and grass cutting are all necessary tasks, but can feel daunting and even impossible for someone navigating grief.
Arrange a community program where volunteers schedule times and tasks to help their neighbors, whether it be adding a few items to their own grocery list or just popping over with the lawn mower from the other side of the street.
Remember that the right thing to say is often nothing. There is no way to fix grief, no way to reverse loss, and no way to take away a mourning period. Remember that the words you choose to support your families should be supportive and helpful, but that there is no better support than that of a willing and receptive ear.
When words fail, there is often comfort to be found in memories. As a support tool for your families, you might suggest they—or a member of their family or close social circle—help to create a memorial video, which can both aid in the grieving process and help family and friends find some smiles or even laughter in these trying days. Life Tributes software offers themed video tributes that making honoring a mother or father feel even more special.
Your role as a supportive figure during your families’ time of grief is one you undoubtedly take seriously and understand the gravity of. Sometimes, being a person with an ear to bend is the best system of support a person can provide.
Want to learn more about how you can continue to support your client families and help them create beautiful and moving Life Tributes? Click here for a free 30-day trial.