As I type, the smell of fresh flowers overwhelms my senses. Carnations, roses, hydrangeas all surround me. Simple but beautiful white arrangments cover the coffee table while vibrant pink and yellow bouquets sit on the fireplace. The funeral is over but the flowers are still here.
The sun is peeking through my grandparents blinds so brightly, my tired eyes feel like they need to close. The backdoor is open for the simple fact that it’s a habit- my grandma always loved that door open. She loved to watch the birds outside. The written encouraging notes I placed around their house are still there but no longer an encouragement to my grandma but me instead. The funeral is over but her stuff is still here.
When you lose someone, whether sudden or expected, you tend to live hour by hour, day to day. Those first days after a loss are a mix of emotions- survival, and grief intermixing in a sad dance. The first few days after a loss are focused on preparing the service and surviving until the service. Then once the service happens, you tend to feel lost again. The funeral might be over but there are still emotions to work through.
The flowers die, the family leaves, the emotions continue. Some people think once the funeral is over, the hard part is over, for me, however- I think the opposite. The funeral is the one thing you’ve worked toward since the loss and once it’s over- you have to face real life again. You have to go back to work, clean out their stuff, go through their clothes…you have to continue on in the world as nothing has happened. The funeral might be over but your world still feels upside down.
When you walk back into your house after a death it’s hard. We walked back into my house after losing her and everything was exactly the same. Birthday banners hung from my sisters birthday, deflated balloons in the corner. At my grandparent’s house, my grandma’s pajamas still laid on the edge of the bed. Her water cup on the side table where she had been drinking it before she went to the hospital. All reminders of the loss you’ve just gone through. The funeral might be over but the memories are around every corner.
For those that are grieving, it’s ok to feel even more upset and lonely after the funeral. The funeral or service gave you a purpose and task to work to but once it’s over, it’s you and your emotions left to try to get back to normal life. It’s not easy, and that’s okay. I’ve shared before that grieving isn’t linear. It isn’t one step of grief one after another, in order, and done in a certain amount of time. But remember this, if you are in Christ and so was your loved one, you can grieve with hope. Grieve with hope because we will see them again if we are saved through Christ Jesus. We will be all together in heaven one day- that should bring a little peace and comfort.
For those who know someone grieving, remember the pain doesn’t go away after the service. Often they need your help the most after the sympathy cards have been taken down and all the food has been eaten that people have brought over. Don’t forget to check on them and help them even days, weeks after the service is over and people stop coming by. Just send them a text or a message, buy them a coffee, send them a gift card so they don’t have to worry about cooking- anything to show that you’re still there to help them through this grief journey.