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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
Individual, Couple and Family Therapy
Resolving issues from your past that block your future

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October 2007

I hate funerals. I don’t know anyone who likes going. So why do we have them? Why do we insist on going through these painful events? How can they possibly help us?

The reality is that they do help us. Human beings need rituals. Rituals help us to deal with a variety of situations, including death. Funerals help us to begin the closure process. Unfortunately, it takes more than a funeral to deal with death, but the process often begins with the ritual.

We need to say good-bye when someone dies. Saying good-bye surrounded by friends and loved ones makes it even more powerful and supportive. When a community comes together, we feel connected and loved. Having a community of friends and relatives come together can give us the strength to say that final farewell.

Going through the ritual of a funeral allows us to begin the acceptance that that person has left us forever. The entire ritual, including watching the internment, can begin getting through the shock to allow reality to seep in. We cannot begin to heal until we understand truly what is going on.

Please understand that I am not saying that everyone has to go to funerals. There are many ways to mourn. If you know for yourself, that does not work for you, respect that. I am also not saying that there is only one way to have a funeral. A funeral can also be a celebration of a person. In fact, I hope that it is.

What is important is that you find rituals that work for you to help you deal with whatever that life presents.

Enjoy the journey.

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