Now Is The Time To Gather
With large gatherings restricted and face masks mandated at events across the country, gathering friends and family to support each after the death of a loved one is complicated. Many grievers, understandably, want to delay or do nothing at all. Virtual funerals and celebration of life ceremonies, however, provide a meaningful way to help you move forward.
Move From Grieving to Mourning.
Grief rituals, such as funerals and end of life ceremonies, help people process their grief. In a recent interview with the Star Tribune, grief expert and author, David Kessler says he noticed a “concerning correlation between people who were really struggling through their grief and those who delayed a ritual...we are going to have this wave of people with complicated grief, because we’re a society now that’s allowing these grievers to be forgotten.”
Public gatherings, witnessed by friends and family, enable your brain to start doing the work of mourning. “The purpose is really to remember and reflect and be able to be present with our emotional experiences around that loss in the presence of others, rather than in isolation,” said Molly Ruggles, assistant clinical director at the FamilyMeans Center for Grief & Loss in St. Paul.
Grief shared is grief diminished. Strong social connections, especially in times of stress, are one of the most important factors in cultivating emotional well-being according to Harvard Women’s Health Watch. Despite social distancing restrictions, grievers need the support of family and friends now more than ever.
“My parents...thought they would have to bury my grandmother alone, but instead felt like we were all there with them,” said Jill Frechtman, after her GatheringUs virtual gathering.
Experience Meaningful Connection.
Virtual funerals and memorials can feel especially personal because they invite more purposeful interaction. In a traditional funeral, people sit in rows and mostly see people’s backs. Whereas in a virtual event, everyone can be “face-to-face” onscreen and experience creative ways to honor a loved one not available at traditional events.
"I have had multiple people reach out and express that this was the most affecting and 'connected' experience they had with any memorial," said Dani Anders after GatheringUs organized a Celebration of Life for her son.
Though a virtual event may feel unconventional, the sentiments expressed and community support can feel much more personal. Planning a virtual event now begins the mourning process and provides a meaningful step toward healing.
If you want help with planning, facilitation, tech support, audiovisuals and design, the GatheringUs team will work with you to create a meaningful and personal event. We free you up, so you can be fully present with your community. Contact GatheringUs to learn more.