While you may feel you can hold off doing a ritual and cruise through the months after a loved one’s death with no emotional repercussions, many grief counselors will tell you that you’re wrong. If you plan to wait months before having a celebration of life with cremated remains, it’s helpful to do something right after the death that allows the community to express their grief and support you as you adjust to your new life situation.
Consider holding an open house – just one day, nothing planned. Give your friends a chance to visit, express their condolences, bring food, share memories and stories, look at photos and videos. A casual gathering can be an opportunity to generate additional ideas for that creative celebration of life you plan to schedule later. Friends want to help their friends, and a casual open house opens the door to accept their assistance at a time when it is most needed.
If you don’t want a house full of people and their food, especially if you are allergic or sensitive to certain foods, recognize the loss with a simple ritual, such as lighting a seven-day candle right after the death and put it next to a picture of that loved one who has died. You can ask people to make a memorial contribution to their favorite charity if you can’t think of an appropriate cause to support.
A death in the family is no time for a stiff upper lip. It’s appropriate to be emotional. Don’t bury feelings and push away the support your friends want to extend to you.