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The funeral services have ended and family and friends have returned home, yet he mourning period is really only just beginning. As a new reality of life begins to sets in, it can be very alone feeling. Speaking with a counselor or religious leader for their insight and support may be helpful as you move through your grief.
Feldman Memorial are here to help you in any way we can.
Returning To Work
"When should I return to work after my loss?" There is truly no right answer to the question. For many, the answer will be determined by your employers of leave of absence rules or financial need. While some may wish to get back to work quickly, seeking to keep busy and feeling strengthened by the support from their coworkers' others may need the time away for reflection and healing.
Regardless of when you return to work, it is important to recognize that the feelings of loss, pain, confusion and how emotion may sweep over you for many months, and possibly far longer.
Recovering through grief is a journey that is unique to each of us. These tips may help as you navigate your journey:
- Talk to your coworkers about your loss. Your coworkers can be an incredible source of comfort and strength. They may not know what to say, or how to help you. But keeping communication open and letting them know how they can help, will go a long way towards helping them help you.
- Forgive yourself for imperfection. It’s common for those in mourning to lose focus and struggle with concentration. Try and be kind to yourself. Don’t over-emphasize your failures during this time of grief. It’s ok to ask others to help check your work.. Let them help – they may not know any other way to help ease your pain, and this can help them to channel their own sorrow and concern for you.
- Find a quiet place to get away. You may find at times a sense of overwhelming loss. At these times it can be very helpful to have a quiet place to go, where you can process your feelings and emotions at the moment. It could be taking a walk outside, finding a quiet room in the office, or anywhere you can escape for a little while.
- Know your employee benefits. Review your e bereavement benefits offered by your company so you have a clear understanding. You may be eligible for grief counseling and other essential support that could make a real difference in your journey. Talk to your Human Resources manager to learn what programs may be available.
- Recognize that grief takes time. Be patient. Don’t expect to “get over it” any time soon. You won’t. Ease back into being with people following a devastating loss. Let those around you support you during this time. Honestly, they want to help, and as you go through the grieving process, they can be an incredible source of strength and comfort.
Sending acknowledgment or sympathy cards within a week or two following the service is appropriate and appreciated. Typically they are sent for the receipt of flowers, food, and other special services but are appreciated by the recipient regardless of how they have provided support.
Acknowledging clergy and celebrants, pallbearers, musicians and other participants in the funeral service or celebration of life is common practice. Responses do not have to belong involved; a simple, heartfelt message is all that's required.
Here are some examples that may help you in getting started. These examples are for guidance only—you should feel free to change the language to reflect your own thoughts and feelings.
- For clergy or celebrants:
Thank you for the lovely celebration of life service for [name of deceased]. Your words brought us comfort and captured the spirit of [first name of deceased], and helped us through this difficult time.
- For friends who brought food, lent cars or performed other services for the family:
We’re grateful for friends like you. Thank you for [task they performed]; it really made things easier during this difficult time.
- For pallbearers:
Thank you for being part of the service for [first name of deceased], and bearing him to [his/her] final rest. You were a good friend to [first name of deceased]. We appreciate your compassion and conern in this difficult time.
- For organizations that sent flowers or other acknowledgments the death, a note should be sent to the leader of the group, with other names of group members called out if known.
We hope that you know that [first name of deceased] was proud to be a member of your group. Thank you.
Dealing with a loved one's belongings is one of the most emotional parts of the healing journey.
As you cope with grieving, you will have to make a decision of when to go through their belongings.
Having to decide on what to keep, what gets donated or thrown away can be agonizing, yet this is a critical part of the grieving process.
Feldman Memorial offers the following tips to try and make the process less traumatic for you.
- Have a plan. If a loss is imminent, create a plan for how and where you will dispose of goods. Emotions can run very high following the death and planning ahead, many help avoids potential conflicts.
- Decide who will be involved. Involving family and especially close friends can be very helpful and ease some of the sadness during the process, even create some joy and laughter as you go through old memories. You may find an item that is considered insignificant to some may represent a treasured memory to another. Discuss things freely—in addition to recognizing what’s important to those close to the deceased, you may also hear unexpected stories and anecdotes about some of the belongings. These memories may provide insights and comfort in the years to come.
- Prioritize and prune. Whether you go through the personal property yourself or hire an estate liquidation team to help you, having a clear understanding of what things are worth keeping, what should be donated, and what could be sold or disposed of, is a good place to start. Having others around to help this decision process can also make things go much faster.
- Value is in the eyes of the beholder. Distributing property, especially valuable property may bring along a bit of conflict. Different family members or other significant persons in the life of the deceased may want certain items and have a sense of “ownership” of them—regardless of what the last will and testament might say. It is often recommended to get third party appraisals for items that may have a fiscal value. Be sure to include others in that process as well, feeling cut out of the process can create unnecessary stress and conflict. Create a system for valuables to be equitably distributed, resolving conflicts over competing claims as quickly as possible. Third-party arbitration can be helpful in cases of serious impasse, but consider family harmony in any decision.
Wondering what to do with the medical equipment that may have been used by the deceased is not unusual.
Items such as hospital beds, wheelchairs and walkers, bath and shower chairs, nutritional formulas and supplements, and disposable supplies of all kinds can all be donated.
Local and international charities and other non-government affiliated organizations can distribute these supplies to those in need or sell them online.