Emotions during funeral or cremation: what do you do with them?

Emotions during funeral or cremation. A lot of people are shy about it. Especially if you are unexpectedly moved while saying goodbye to someone you didn’t even know well. What are the psychological backgrounds of such emerging emotions? And how do you deal with it? Advice, background and practical tips.

Unexpected emotions

The fact that we are often ashamed of emotions at a funeral or cremation may actually have something to do with a Calvinistic kind of gene. In any case, it is culturally determined to reason which emotion is appropriate or not, and when emotions ‘should’ be suppressed. In certain cultures, even professional visitors are called in to openly express suffering and sadness. So it is especially important to ‘not keep it dry’. Another cause is psychological. A large group of people do not expect the emotion, especially when they attend a farewell party for someone they hardly know or know at all. For example, a distant colleague. Then expressing sadness that you cannot place yourself can make you extra uncomfortable. What is the explanation for this? Firstly, one person empathizes more with a farewell than the other. Especially if you put yourself in the shoes of someone who has lost a loved one, and know what it would be like for you if that were to happen, the tears can run high. When we have just gone through a difficult time or are still going through it, tears are also extremely logical. Man is also a social being. The sadness of others affects us. And that is only to your credit.

What to do with your emotions?

Far too often we think that all eyes are on us if we cannot control our emotion during a farewell, and that people will think something of it. There are two reasons to qualify that idea. Firstly, during a farewell, people are mainly concerned with their own emotions and what happens during the farewell. Moreover, anyone who takes a discreet look around can see some people sitting with a handkerchief in their hand. Emotions during a funeral or cremation are normal, and no one questions whether someone else’s tears are justified.

Practical tips

Don’t bottle up emotions for too long when they arise, even if you would have preferred to ‘keep it dry’ for whatever reason. The sooner you shed a discreet tear, the less likely it will be accompanied by a loud sob or an audible hitch in breathing. Never forget a handkerchief when you go to a funeral. Not even if you don’t expect tears beforehand. That assessment is too difficult if you are not yet in the situation itself. And if you are a woman, choose waterproof mascara. These are small things, but they can greatly increase your comfort during the funeral or cremation.

If you can’t get a word out

You may simply dread a conversation around or after cremation or burial. What if, during the condolence of the relatives, you simply cannot get a word out without seeing your emotions take over? Yet this is also worth nuancing. When you are part of a condolence group, you can choose to express your feelings in your handshake or hug, as it were, and say only a few words, such as the standard wording ,condolences., You’d be surprised how often people remember a look of compassion or an attentive handshake. Many of our greatest human communications do not require words.

Fear of burial or cremation

There are people who develop a more or less strong fear of attending a funeral or cremation. That’s not crazy at all. Death can be a very confronting thing. The fear of saying or doing the wrong thing, or having an outburst of emotion that will surprise people, also plays a role. Especially because death is kept out of the picture in our society, the bridge from your daily life to saying goodbye to a deceased person can be very high. Yet it is in your own interest and that of the surviving relatives if you overcome the hesitation and trepidation. In any case, being present somewhere counts as an expression of support. As a rule, people are busy with themselves and the ceremony and not with keeping an eye on the other visitors. It can also help to avoid burial and cremation. This brings the experience closer, can normalize, and your experiences will help you every time. Don’t be shy about taking a small aid, such as some valerian drops or Bach flowers. If you think you need medication, consult your doctor. In any case, surf around for experiences on forums and the like. You will be amazed at the number of people who struggle with emotions, fear or trepidation surrounding a funeral or cremation, even if it concerns a (relative) stranger. You are not alone in this either.

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