Recently, I shared a post about my work in the funeral industry. You can read that post here: https://missykuester.com/a-nonanxious-presence-in-a-funeral-home/. One question I often get is “What do you do at the funeral home?” I could list the actual physical things such as greeting visitors, restocking the snacks and drinks, moving flowers, driving the hearse, driving the limo, moving more flowers, etc. But the best answer I can think of is I’m resonsible for creating and holding space for grieving people.
What does it mean to hold space for grieving families?
According to gsthereapy center, “Holding space means being physically, mentally, and emotionally present for someone. It means putting your focus on someone to support them as they feel their feelings.” https://www.gstherapycenter.com/blog/2020/1/16/what-holding-space-means-5-tips-to-practiceAcc
It’s a great post with tips for creating a safe space.
In my life when walking through a loss with a friend or loved one, I have wanted to create or be a safe place for them. A sudden or profound loss can create a plethora of dynamic emotions. My job is to create a space where a person feels comfortable displaying those emotions without judgment.
Creating a safe space for grieving
At the funeral home, I create a safe space by doing all the things mentioned early. Our emphasis is to remember everything that a grieving family may not think of during the planning and services. We also cater to our families. Whatever they ask for we are open to doing. Consequently, our goal is to make those things happen behind the scenes without fanfare.
Another way we create space for people to grieve is to honor and respect customs whether they be cultural, religious, or family. Rituals are important in the grieving process. I hope to share some of the specific customs and rituals I have personally experienced in subsequent posts.
Have you ever thought about how you respond to someone when they are griveing? Rather than give advice or tell them how they should feel, wouldn’t it be better to just be present, without advice or judgement? Are you a safe space for them in which they can be raw and honest with their feelings of loss?