Familiarize Yourself with Funeral Services & Other Social Events

Sam

When someone in your life dies, several types of services and events commonly take place as a way of remembering the deceased person. These include pre-funeral events such as visitations, viewings, or wakes; funerals; and post-funeral gatherings and receptions.  You might also be asked a lot of questions you didn’t expect to be asked, either by well-meaning acquaintances or by officials like the Coroner or funeral home (if you are the next of kin).  You may be asked to make decisions which might feel overwhelming. There will be an expectation from others about how you behave, how you grieve, you do not need to conform to their idea of what grieving is.

It’s possible that you might feel deeper emotions when a cherished animal dies, and that is perfectly okay. There are no rules about how you must feel or how deeply you are affected by any kind of loss. You do not need to engage with guilt, or regret or anxiety about how you are supposed to react. Sam told me she cried for two weeks straight when her beloved cat Suki was killed in a horrible accident, yet when her human Auntie died, she cried for a few hours when she heard the news, but that was it. Sam found she was affected more by empathizing with how other people were affected, like her Mum who was devasted about losing her sister.As an autistic individual, understanding grief and navigating social situations such as funerals and visitations can be challenging. It’s important, however, that you’re included in all pre- or- post-funeral events when a loved one dies. These social situations can be made easier if you familiarize yourself with the venues and events in advance: try visiting the venue before the event takes place, looking at pictures on the venue’s website, or asking friends and family what you should expect to happen at the funeral service and other social events.

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