Cemetery Visits Provide Healing and Grief Therapy
Burial options are more diverse today than they have ever been before. People are opting for everything from traditional cemetery plots and urns to more unusual choices like donation for the advancement of science and medicine. All of these are part of the natural process of passing on, and the decision of which one to choose ultimately rests with the deceased and the family he or she leaves behind.
One important consideration when choosing which type of burial method to use involves taking into account the power of having a place to bereave. The process of grieving the loss of a loved one is a very personalized and individual one. No two people will handle the process in exactly the same way, and there is no real way to prepare for the pain of losing someone you care about. However, one of the features of grief that is almost universal is the power of having someplace you can go to say your goodbyes and heal properly.
Cemeteries and Bereavement
Cemeteries have long existed as resting places for the remains of those we love. Although almost all cemeteries have their root in religious practices, the purpose has always been the same: to provide a place of comfort both for the deceased and for those in mourning. Not only does having a physical space to mourn allow room for bereavement, but the power of shared sympathy is also vital.
The process of grief and bereavement is something that few people can manage alone. Healing is all about having the support and understanding of others: those who knew the deceased as well as those who have lost a loved one and continued to live happy, healthy lives. Cemeteries provide this, if only because it transforms death from a life-altering occurrence to a natural process that everyone goes through in the past, present, and future.
Cemetery burials also provide a chance to process grief in a healthy manner. From the initial burial, when ceremony and tradition make saying goodbye easier to bear, to visitations as the months go by, having a place to process your emotions is important. It doesn’t matter whether or not you believe that proximity to your loved one’s remains is vital in releasing your emotions; from a psychological standpoint, having access to a place where associations with the deceased are calm, soothing, and eternal can go a long way in helping you to feel the same “at peace” sensations.
Cemeteries are also known almost universally as “safe” places, where others share your pain and respect the emotions you go through. Positive associations with cemeteries, which can be fostered by burial ceremonies and the beauty of tradition, can go a long way in helping you to cope.
The Power of Activity
Most cemeteries are maintained by a staff of groundskeepers, who will keep the grass trim and clean, and provide services to keep trees, bushes, and other headstones free from neglect. However, most family members perform some level of upkeep on their own. This can include everything from keeping fresh flowers nearby to decorating for certain holidays and commemorations.
The act of maintaining a gravesite can be incredibly healing, particularly if there was a caregiving relationship during life. Being able to physically care for the memory of a loved one allows for a healthier grieving process.
Choosing What’s Right for You
When making burial decisions, it’s important to bear in mind both the wishes of the deceased and those who will be left behind. After all, most burial traditions are meant to provide comfort to family and friends, not necessarily for the benefit of the deceased. Providing a physical place for grief to occur – in the form of a cemetery plot or mausoleum – means that there is a safe, positive place for healthy bereavement and recovery.