December 19th, 2011 | Posted in General
What is there to do when people die – people so dear and rare – but bring them back by remembering?
- May Sarton
One of the truly helpful customs of recent years is that of providing an occasion – in the context of a memorial service or in some other specified setting – where mourners are encouraged to share memories of the one who has died. There will be tears. There may be laughter. There will certainly be a sense of richness as the person is remembered, his or her nature and history celebrated.
This process will go on and on – at family gatherings, at random times when a story comes to mind and is shared. This is invariably a lift. Even when the stories are not particularly complimentary, they bring back to us the complex and loved personality and life of the one we miss.
Conversely, one of the saddest mistakes survivors make is, out of their pain, never to speak of the loved one again. Such silence, far from diminishing the pain, just causes it to build up and may result in life-pervading bitterness.
So let’s talk. Let’s remember. Of course, not every occasion with family and friends is an occasion for recalling. But we are more apt to err on the side of silence.
- Hickman, Martha Whitmore. “Healing After a Loss”. New York: Harper Collins, (1994).