We’ve reached the time of year when our management team at the Catholic Cemeteries Association must make decisions regarding our annual budget. This entails identifying everything we need to support our 19 cemeteries, 60+ buildings, 35+ miles of road, and over 160 employees.
Needless to say, this is a lot to consider, and it is my job as Director to pay attention to the numbers to make sure we not only have enough funds to cover our current operations, but to ensure we generate enough income to care for the past and prepare for the future. As a self-sustaining entity, this income is generated directly through the sale of places of interment and products such as granite memorials and vaults.
Now, you may be wondering why I’m choosing to talk about the financial side of our ministry. I want you to know that, despite our financial responsibilities, we at the CCA never lose sight of what is most important: serving you.
We know that every sale is the direct result of the loss of a loved one. This is one of the reasons why I take time to walk our cemeteries, to remember those who were so treasured and loved here on earth.
While sales allow us to carry on our ministry, it is the connection we feel with each family that matters most. We at the CCA take our calling to serve families seriously and personally. We never lose sight of the trust placed in us to care for your dearly departed loved ones, and please know that we will continue to work hard every day in order to keep your trust in the years to come.
Mourning the loss of a loved one is already a very difficult and sensitive time. Today’s age of social media makes grieving even more complicated, as social media has transformed the way we interact with each other. On one hand, social media can be a very helpful resource when you are experiencing grief, as it introduces new ways to connect and reach out for help; on the other hand, social media can negatively influence your grief journey, as it may provoke unhealthy feelings of isolation or comparison. For some people, it may be best to take a break from social media during the first stages of grief to avoid these conflicting effects entirely. However, if you decide to continue using social media while grieving, it’s important to make yourself aware of how it may impact your grief journey. Please continue reading to learn more.
Social media can provide an accessible and broad network of people to connect with while mourning the loss of a loved one. It can also be helpful since it provides a virtual way of speaking with people. It’s common to prefer more alone time after losing someone close to you. Social media is a great way to reach out when you want, while still having the ability to turn off your device and seek personal solace whenever necessary.
Online Support Groups
Social media offers a platform for you to connect with other people who are currently mourning. Online support groups can be helpful, as they allow you to talk with people who have gone through similar losses and experiences. Searching for groups online opens up even more opportunities, as you may be able to find specific types of support that fit your situation. Support groups can be a wonderful way to receive the compassion and understanding you need to help you heal. Even more so, it can be very comforting to know that you aren’t the only one experiencing certain feelings or types of grief.
Unique Ways to Memorialize Your Loved One
Social platforms offer unique ways to remember our loved ones. Acknowledging your loss directly allows room for healing and growth along your grief journey. Posting a picture, video, scripture passage, or a simple post about your loved one may not only help you work through your grief, but it also opens the opportunity for others in your network to do the same.
While social media does offer an alternative way to communicate with people, it’s important to remember that nothing can truly replace the comfort felt when talking to someone face to face. In some cases, spending too much time online can make you feel isolated or disconnected from the outside world. Be sure to watch the amount of time you spend online, and try to seek in-person forms of support when possible.
It’s no secret that, while social media may offer positivity and encouragement at times, it can serve some negative, hurtful, or disparaging posts as well. It’s best to stay away from any toxic support groups or pages that bring you more turmoil than peace. In regard to your personal posts, it’s important to realize certain friends or relatives may not be sensitive to your loss. You may find that some people will leave hurtful comments. Maybe you expected more people to write a message, while only a few chose to do so. While on social media, you should look out for yourself and be ready to remove yourself from the platform if negativity begins to overwhelm you.
Another drawback to using social media is our human nature to compare ourselves to others. You may find that your family and friends are posting about your loved one online. If it appears a family member is mourning the loss more deeply than you, this may elicit feelings of guilt. Alternatively, if you feel someone is not taking the loss seriously enough, this could spark feelings of anger or hurt. It’s important to remember that every loss is extremely unique to the individual, so comparing yourself to others is not healthy. Instead of looking at others, focus on your personal grief journey.
Above all, if you use social media while grieving you should be honest with yourself and ask: What do I hope to gain from this experience? Why am I writing this post and what do I expect once it’s published? Is this platform helping me along my grief journey or hindering me from moving forward? Taking time to reflect on these questions will help ensure you’re using social media in a healthy way.
Losing someone close to you presents a variety of emotions. Sadness, anger, or simply feeling numb are some responses; but the possible reactions are endless. Since each person has a very unique relationship with the deceased, it makes sense that their reactions will be equally unique. It’s important to realize that you are not obligated to feel one way just because family or friends are expressing a certain emotion. It’s necessary that you know you are allowed to be doing well after the loss of a loved one. God does not judge you, nor compare you to others. He accepts you for all that you are and however you feel. Even knowing all this, it may be difficult if you find yourself moving forward while others continue to mourn. Continue reading for guidance and support on how to navigate these differences.
Everyone Reacts Differently
After the passing of a loved one, you may feel as if there is a hole in your life. It may seem that there is a missing piece that you are not sure how to fill or fix. People cope with the loss of a loved one in a variety of ways. Some people are extremely emotional during these times, you may see them crying or lashing out in anger. On the other hand, some people do nothing of the sort. Some feel no need to cry or be emotional. A sense of guilt may come over you for not expressing sadness as much as other family or friends. You may feel as if it looks like you do not take this situation as seriously as the rest of the bereaved, which is not true. This lack of emotion and compelling sense of guilt is not unusual. If you have felt this way, you are not alone. It does not mean you care less than others or even that you are not as sad as the rest of your family or friends. Everyone responds differently to heartache and if your reaction is more stoic, more subdued, or less emotional, it is both a valid and acceptable way to react.
Healing Takes on Various Forms
There are many ways and instances that show how a person’s healing process is different from others. Some people who are actively mourning may not want to talk about the deceased. Whereas, you may have no issue bringing up their name or telling stories about them. For some it may be too hard to see items that belonged to their loved one, but for you this may not be a big deal. Further, it may not be difficult for you to visit the grave of the deceased while it may be incredibly difficult for other mourning friends or family. You may feel connected to your loved one again or comforted by going to their grave, while others may not be able to. You should not feel ashamed of these differences. Instead, embrace them and learn how to heal within your own comfort levels.
God is all knowing and loving. If your healing process includes you not showing your emotions, God understands. If you do not want to talk about your loss and keep to yourself, God accepts that as well. He knows how you truly feel and why you heal the way you do because He created you that way. He made you unique. We can take comfort in knowing that He will never compare you to others. He understands that you need to mourn in the way that is best for you. He alone knows what will bring you true comfort and healing. He accepts you for all that you are and how you feel, so lean on Him in times when you aren’t sure how to process your emotions. God will guide you.
To say our world is going through a turbulent time is an understatement. The confusion, anger, and fear that many of us face each day may seem incredibly overwhelming, and mourning the loss of a loved one only adds to this stress. It may be hard to find the motivation to remain hopeful.
However, I’ve found much comfort in the simple phrase: keep the faith.
While this suffering may be new to many of us, we must remember that our world is no stranger to suffering. Whether we look to the Jews of Egypt, those who lived during the time of Jesus Christ, those taken from their homes and sold into slavery, among many other groups – we can see how faith gave them the strength and the perseverance to continue on.
Personally, I look to my Slovenian ancestry for strength. I look to my parents and grandparents who were forced out of their homes due to their religious and political beliefs. They left everything they knew behind, only moving forward with the few items they could carry with them. However, despite their newfound poverty, despite moving as refugees from camp to camp, they found a way to celebrate Mass each Sunday. It was their faith in God’s mercy and love that kept them alive, and it was faith that led them to a better life.
We all face our own unique form of suffering on this earth. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed with our struggles. However, we must remain faithful. We must remember that while we our limited to seeing the here and now, God is eternal. He has led the world through suffering time and time again, and He will always provide us with an everlasting hope.
Today I attended the burial of a woman I’ve known for years. As solemn as it was to bear witness to her burial, I found myself smiling. I thought back to the moments we shared, and the true privilege it was to know her. The whole event reminded me that every person placed in our life is sent by God. Whether the relationship was good or bad, long or short – every encounter we have is intentional and serves a specific purpose in our path to growing closer to God.
Now more than ever, our world is aware of our mortality. While we cannot control what happens next, we can control our outlook, our actions, and our priorities moving forward. We are all facing degrees of separation right now, whether you’ve recently lost a loved one or are currently social distancing. It is easy to give in to feelings of loss or loneliness. However, as valid as those feelings are, try to balance them with feelings of happiness and peace. Think of the wonderful time you shared with your loved one. Thank God for that time together. That time is a true gift – a reason to smile.
Above all, we must remember that our God calls us to live by faith, not fear. I pray that, despite our circumstances, we may all find a way to connect with those we love and cherish the relationships God has placed in our lives.