How to say goodbye when you can’t attend the funeral

There are many occasions in life when you can’t attend a funeral.

With COVID restrictions, that has stopped many people. Yes, you can often watch the funeral online, but it doesn’t allow you to share your thoughts with other people or feel the atmosphere of being present at the funeral.

There are other things that stop you attending funerals:

• Not having the money to pay for airfares to attend a funeral.

• Being unable to take time off work.

• The funeral being for close family, when you aren’t close family.

• Not knowing the person has died until after the funeral.

• Being too sick to attend the funeral.

• Not being recognised as a having a valid reason to mourn the person.

• And so on.

These are just some of the things that stop you attending the funeral of an important person in your life.

I have often had clients who have been unable to attend the funeral of someone important to them.

So what can you do to say goodbye?

One of the most important things to consider when saying goodbye is what the person meant to you.

What was it you liked/loved about them?

If you think about them, what is something about them that seems important, or makes you smile?

Is there some place that reminds you of them, or that you know they loved going to?

Do you have any rituals that you use to say goodbye to people you have loved?

Here are some of the ways clients of mine have said goodbye to loved ones.

• Light a candle a day for a number of days. I have had many people do this, the number of days varies according to their culture.

• Write a poem about the person, read it out and say goodbye.

• Write a letter to the person then read it out. You could light a candle while you are doing this or go to a place that you feel represents the person you are commemorating.

• Get together with other people who knew the person and celebrate their memory.

• Visit a place they loved to go to and say goodbye there.

• Write a letter to the person and post it. You can address it to any place you want and if you don’t leave a return address on it, it will never return.

• Draw a picture, paint a picture, make an artwork that represents the person.

• Imagine you are sitting with them and talk to them, then say goodbye.

• Buy or make something that represents that person to you and display it in your home.

• Make a memory box and put notes, items that remind you of the person, photos and so on in the box.

• Write on their social media page, saying goodbye.

• Share stories about the person with your own friends/family members.

There are many more ways to say goodbye.

The important thing is to allow yourself to acknowledge your loved one/friend’s death and to give yourself the opportunity to commemorate their life and the end of their life in a way that is meaningful to you.

You may also like to remember them on birthday’s, the anniversary of their death, and so on.

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