Funeral Directors Help Facilitate Grief

When a person dies, the world seems to continue right along as though nothing has happened, and to the bereaved this experience can be isolating. A funeral director helps the family by making sure that their beloved is cared for and honored while facilitating the organizational and legal aspects of the arrangements. According to Worden, “often the immediate family members are in a dazed or numb condition and the service does not have the positive psychological impact that it might have.”2 While this can be an issue, these families still benefit from just being with those support them through their loss. They want to be comforted. They want to be with those who understand their loss. The funeral is a supportive place to show respect for the dead, and surviving family and friends.

Do you think Americans need to be more open to public displays of grief? 

The funeral home and or cemetery are the socially acceptable places for mourning. This leaves Americans with few places where it is acceptable for grief to be displayed openly. In American culture, we are taught to hold back public display of pain so we do not make others uncomfortable. We are encouraged to shed tears privately, out of sight. This can create disenfranchised grief. Worden recommends, “some type of ongoing contact with these families might be considered for the purpose of grief counseling.”2 The funeral meets a family’s spiritual, psychological, and social needs as they share the pain of losing someone loved. The funeral rite gives us a universally understood social tradition to observe for coming together. Thus, the funeral is one of the few events where people are not judged as harshly for showing emotion. This makes the funeral director's job of creating conducive atmosphere for healing all the more important. By offering the bereaved a place to address these feelings, funeral directors help to facilitate grief and allow survivors to find meaning through the funeral rite. 

How have funeral directors helped you or a loved one
Do you think Americans need to be more open to public displays of grief? 

² Worden, J.W. (2009). Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy. A Handbook for the Mental Health