...nan seems to be coping relatively well but its still hard trying to get used to a life without someone who has played such a big role. Your contribution has helped us all through a hard stage and we are forever grateful for that.
Thank you so much for the service yesterday. A number of people asked how you knew Carol as it was spot on.The time and care to get that so right is very much appreciated.
I would just like to thank you sooo much for today and everything you did to help us all say goodbye to my mum!!
It was a beautiful eulogy... your presence and manner was gracious - you had my mum sussed.
It truly was a beautiful service!!! Everyone said you were awesome..
I appreciate all that you did to help me and help make my mum's day at rest, peaceful... you are a lovely person.
Just heading South. I hope next time when I am visiting my mum in law we can meet for coffee.
Much love Jane and family xxx
This is just to say thank you for your support and professionalism yesterday. You really had taken time to get to know Dad and the family, and I don't think anyone there would have imagined that you had never actually met him in person. I felt quite confident doing my bit knowing that you were ready to take over if needed.
We were very pleased with the number of people who were able to come given that it is holiday time. All parts of his life were represented. Many of them remarked on your sensitive leading of the service...
All best wishes,
Just wanted to say thank you again for the truly magical ceremony you arranged and led for us. It was everything we had hoped it would be and more.
We have just returned from a wonderful honeymoon and we are both looking forward to the experiences you indicated we would do from now on.
Please feel free to drop in for a cuppa. We feel like you are a part of the family now.
Pet and Andre. XX
In the UK, we are not taught how to deal with death very well at all. We're encouraged not to cry. Or when we lose a pet we might be told, "Don't cry, we'll get you a new one." We are encouraged to be strong – whatever that means, and we are often told to "keep busy and not think about it." In other words, we are taught to avoid grief. The truth is quite disturbing because if we bury these feelings, they absolutely will resurface in other ways. None of us want to feel sadness, but it is part of being human and we must learn to work through it, so that we can function properly. Hope is a very powerful way of helping us to embrace grief. It doesn’t deny us the sadness, but it can help us make sense of it.
The story, Water bugs and Dragonflies by Doris Stickney* will no doubt resonate with a lot of people. It is a particularly helpful way of explaining death to a child, but I have used it on a couple of occasions to help adults process it too. If you are unfamiliar with the story, it is a fable of water bugs transforming into dragonflies and is an excellent way to help people think about what might happen after someone dies. Some might label it as fanciful, but it isn’t. It is steeped in natural fact and if nature leans toward the philosophy of hope and new beginnings, then who are we to deny it?
The story suggests that death does not necessarily mark the end of a person’s story; that there is something about us that can continue to take on a new lease of life after we die. This concept can be immensely reassuring, and it is no new ideal – it has existed within most of the world’s religions for many thousands of years. As society is becoming increasingly secular, we must be careful not to lose it. It has existed for as long as it has, because it is clearly very important to our human psyche.
Grief can often make people feel hopeless. Some people may feel overwhelmed by the sense of their own mortality after someone they love dies; and for others, albeit a deeply sad occasion, death can be dealt with quite matter-of-factly. There is something deep within us that yearns for a better tomorrow and when we are reassured by the prospect of it, it can give us confidence and purpose – two essential ingredients needed to live a relatively healthy life.
We don’t have to be theists, to value the ideal. Whether you are a person of faith or not, hope is a very real and optimistic state of mind and amongst its opposites are dejection, hopelessness and despair – the stuff of gloom and despondency. The story of the Water bugs and dragonflies is the stuff of promise and ambition and provides a very real light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
Waterbugs & Dragonflies
Author: Doris Stickney
Publisher: Continuum (September 2002)
I would like to thank you for your outstanding care and compassion. I will never forget your kindness. The service was esquisite.
Where do I start?
Thank you for your careful attention to detail. Thank you for your unbelievable support for mum. Thank you for the beautiful funeral service, it was special just like you said it would be. Thank you for your kindness and reassurance throughout. You are a very special man.
Mel and Steve