Grief Support

1. Why Do We Have Funerals?

For thousands of years, funerals have been a means of expressing our beliefs, thoughts and feelings about the death of someone we love.

The Funeral Ceremony:
  • helps us acknowledge that someone we love has died
  • allows us to say good-bye
  • provides a social support system for us and other friends and family members
  • allows us to search for the meaning of life and death
  • offers continuity and hope for the living.
Meaningful funeral ceremonies are rites of passage. They help us move from life before the death to life after the death.

The funeral provides a safe place to express our feelings of loss.

2. Why Do We Often View The Body?

Viewing the body is a way of honoring the transition from life to death and saying our last goodbyes.

Embalming is a familiar and standard part of funerals in The Bahamas today, though it is optional. Embalming the body temporarily preserves it so family and friends can say goodbye.

For some, open casket visitations or funerals followed by cremation are an appropriate choice.

In some cultures, viewing the body is considered inappropriate or is even forbidden.

3. Why Do People Gather For A Service At The Grave?

The graveside service is a final opportunity to say goodbye. It is also a way of honoring the dead and helping them exit this life with honor, dignity and respect.

To accompany a body to its final resting place is to realize we are forever separated from that person. This is a sad but necessary realization.

At the end of the committal service, sometimes mourners are invited to throw handfuls of dirt on top of the casket or urn. This may also take the form of placing a flower on the casket or throwing it into the grave. This helps them fully acknowledge the reality of the death and begin their healing process.

4. Why Do We Socialize And Share Food After The Funeral?

Most funerals are followed by a gathering of friends and family.

This informal time allows mourners to tell stories about the person who died, to cry, to laugh, to support one another. It is an informal time of release after the more formal elements of the funeral ceremony.

The gathering is also a transition, a rite of passage back to living again. It demonstrates the continuity of life, even in the face of death.