This week we are discussing the film Alita: Battle Angel. In this movie we see the familiar theme of humanity, technology and artificial intelligence merging to form a society where there are very few boundaries between them. How might this affect the death and grieving process?
I had the honor of speaking with D.L Henderson, PhD last Juneteenth. We discussed early African Burial practices and the restoration of the historic African American burial grounds at Oakland Cemetery here in Atlanta, GA.
I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Michael C. Carlos Museum here in Atlanta, Georgia. While there I experienced the Do or Die: Affect, Ritual and Resistance Exhibit created by the amazing artist Dr. Fahamu Pecou. I also had the opportunity to view and learn about ancient and sacred funerary relics and other artifacts from around the world. This was truly an amazing experience. It is my prayer that by sharing this video you will be inspired to get out and explore the arts and history around you. To learn more about Michael C. Carlos Museum visit http://carlos.emory.edu/ To Learn more about Dr. Pecou visit www.fahamupecouart.com Thank you for watching.
If you knew that you were going to pass away exactly one hour from now what would you want to tell your loved ones? What would be the most important things for them to know? Would you have enough time to communicate with everyone that you need to? Luckily, many of us will never be faced with this extreme BUT from a funeral planning perspective there are 4 Important Things That You Must Tell Your Loved Ones Before You Die.
1. What You Want Done With Your Body
Give some thought to what it is that you want done with your body when you pass away. Choosing a method of memorial or disposition that truly reflects the essence of who you are in a unique and creative way are there endless. There are so many options available ranging from traditional burial, burial at sea, becoming a part of the coral reef to burial in space and much much more. Having a clear direction or idea of what it is that you want will make the funeral planning process much more peaceful for your loved ones. Planning ahead and making your arrangements yourself would be the greatest act of love that you can give them.
2. Where to Find Your Life Insurance Policy and Other Vital Documents
Upon your death, your loved ones will be responsible for taking on a variety of financial responsibilities starting with your funeral and chosen method of disposition. Knowing exactly where to find vital documents will make this process less stressful and painful for them. Clearly communicate the location of any and all important policies, deeds, and other documents with someone that you trust. Also keep in mind that someone will be responsible for filing your taxes. To learn more please take a minute to watch the following videos:
Death and Taxes: http://www.thegravewoman.com/blog/death-taxes-with-erica-booth
Claiming Employer Life Insurance Benefits: http://www.thegravewoman.com/blog/4-steps-to-confirming-life-insurance-benefits-with-your-employer6068976
3 Things to Consider before You Die: http://www.thegravewoman.com/blog/3-things-that-every-family-needs-to-seriously-consider-before-someone-dies
3. How to Continue Your Legacy
We all want to be remembered for something and in some special way. Spend some time thinking about and be sure to communicate verbally and in writing how you want your family and close loved ones to carry on your memory.Are there any holiday traditions, family gatherings, trips, or other events or special activities that you want to see carried out or charitable contributions made to in your honor?
4. What to do with Your Belongings?
Ensuring that your estate is properly handled and your belongings, whether monetary or physical, are distributed according to your wishes can only be done if you take control now and make it happen on paper. Outlining what you want in the form of a will and designating an executor or administrator to ensure your final wishes are fulfilled ahead of time can save your loved ones, money, time and energy and also help in avoiding conflict and disagreement.
To learn more take time check out this blog http://www.thegravewoman.com/blog/3-consequences-of-not-planning-for-death-what-we-can-learn-from-aretha-franklin-the-queen-of-soul
I’d love to hear from you! What do you think are the 4 Most Important Things You Must Tell Your Loved Ones before You Die as far as final wishes are concerned?
Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash
Lego Movie 2 is the charming sequel of the Lego movie franchise. In this week installment of Death at the Movies, we explore the grief experienced when we lose ourselves to relationships, situations, pending circumstances and our environment.
Survivors guilt is a very unique type of grief experienced by those who survive a traumatic experience in which one or more other participants of the same event or experience pass away. In this video we discuss the untimely death of American actor Kristoff St. John. Kristoff's son Julian committed suicide in 2014 leading the actor to struggle with severe feelings of guilt anger and regret. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/new...
Reaching out and connecting with someone that we know who is grieving is not comfortable nor is it easy. Sometimes, we do not seem to know the right words or if we are invading personal space and privacy by asking too many questions. We may instinctively know that we need to and should reach out but because those that are grieving don’t always outwardly display what we may perceive as sadness, loneliness or depression we decide to honor our comfort zone and convince ourselves that we are giving them the space that they need.
We tell ourselves that if they need me, they will let me know. Sadly, this is one of the worst things that we can do. Though completely unintentional and not done purposely; by not reaching out we allow those who are grieving the space to suffer their loss in silence. Unbeknownst to us others personal turmoil while grieving can be emotionally accelerated with feelings of isolation, loneliness and lack of connection with the outside world.
It is essential to understand that by reaching out to those who are grieving we are not taking on the responsibility for their mental and emotional well being. Should you feel as if, your loved one needs professional guidance or emergent help because they are dealing with suicidal thoughts or may cause harm to themselves or others, please encourage them to immediately seek and take advantage of support from a mental health professional.
As friends, family, coworker and other parts of a vital support system simply offering a safety net of love and ensuring the bereaved that they are not alone and that there are others who are there with them along their journey with grief. Reaching out and offering support to someone that is grieving differs significantly from Expressing Your Condolences. By reaching out and showing your support you are taking on the role of a consistent voice or presence while respecting and boundaries and space. 5 No-invasive ways of achieving this are to:
1. Call or Text
Receiving a call or text from someone we know who does not want anything from us other than to see how we are doing when we are feeling low or alone is one of the best feelings in the world. It makes us feel as if we matter as if we are cared for and as if we are important. Giving this simple gift to someone that is grieving can offer a break from their current reality of loss if only for a split second.
2. Extend an Invitation
Rather if it’s inviting them out to a movie or for a lunch date, taking the time and making the effort to get the bereaved out of their routine and into the outside world can make a major difference. Even if your invitations are not initially accepted keep trying.
3. Be Comfortable With the Silence
Do not take personal offense if you do not receive an immediate response to text, phone calls, letters or other communication attempts. If you happen to visit someone that is grieving and they do not have much to say don’t feel uncomfortable or pressured to make conversation. Your presence and efforts do not feel on deaf ears or hearts and mean more than you know.
4. Stay Involved and Consistent
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard someone who was deep within the turmoil of grief say “I looked forward to their weekly phone call or monthly visit”. Rather you know it or not you are offering someone else something to look forward to.
5. Recharge Yourself
Grief is heavy and compassion fatigue and burn out are real. When offering support and reaching out to those who are grieving it is vital that you are actively tending to your own self-care needs. It is impossible to water others from an empty vessel. Remember that it is not your job to “fix” anyone. As humans, we naturally mimic the behavior of those around and closest to us. Setting the positive example of self-care and wellness mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically can inspire the person that you are supporting to do the same.
I’d love to hear from you! What ways have you shown support to someone experiencing grief? Post your comments below or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
This past weekend here in Atlanta, GA the most significant American sports event of the year was hosted less than a mile away from my home. Hundreds of thousands of people from around the country and the world were literally in my back yard. More people were in this city this past weekend than there have ever been in the 15 years that I have lived here yet, somehow I felt more alone this past weekend than I ever have. I am still uncertain as to why this is but as usual during my time of reflection my heart and mind connected spiritually with those who are grieving.
As I watched all of the tailgate and game-goers collectively celebrating, I was reminded of those who are buried in throws of grief, isolation and fear that their current emotional state will never change. As excitement and frenzy buzzed around me, and I felt the stillness and quiet within I felt the loneliness of those who are merely going through the motions day by day as the world and time seen to pass them by. Alone, afraid and in anguish, as everyone else simply carries on.
Loneliness is a very intense and real emotion. Many of us have experienced loneliness at one point or another in our lives. Perhaps after moving out of our parents' homes to experience life on our own, or maybe after a break-up. Somehow we made it through those experiences and in most cases were able to overcome the loneliness experience by doing something that picked us up emotionally, surrounding ourselves with friends and family or looking forward to brighter days ahead. However, when someone passes away there is a level of loneliness created in our hearts and minds that is not so easily healed or managed.
Though I am not currently grieving the loss of a loved one, I have been there. I know the pain far too well. I know the hopelessness, the despair, the desire to be left alone while intensely craving for someone to be able to touch and offer comfort to an ache that is far too deep and dark for words to explain or emotions to express. I understand what it is like to question whether no longer being is better than feeling loss and constant turmoil.
I also know that things change and day by day, month by month, year by year and our hearts will heal and that our minds will somehow make peace with an absence that initially is unbearable. My experiences with grief and loss (of all kinds) have taught me so much. The truth is that there are not many ways the loneliness experienced due to someone passing away can be soothed, healed or worked through. Other than prayer, time, and the grace of God there just is not much more that one can do other than go through the process of grief. Nonetheless, there are three things that may provide solace and relief through the journey:
1. Reaching Out to Those You Trust
We all handle and experience grief so differently. Being vulnerable with others during an already deeply emotional and painful experience is not easy. Finding the words to articulate emotions that are new, complicated and unclear makes becoming isolated that much easier. Though spending time alone with your thoughts and feelings is not a bad thing, becoming too isolated can become unhealthy and dangerous. It is vital that you keep healthy connections with those who you know have your best interest at heart. Just sending a text message to let those you trust know that you are having a hard day or not feeling quite yourself could help tremendously and allow for others to offer their support and help you not feel so alone.
2. Appreciating the Uniqueness of Your Loss
Many times when we are grieving we feel as if no one will ever understand our loss. Though we all have and will experience loss at some point in our lives this is very true because each loss is unique. The connection that you have with your loved one is yours and yours alone. You are going to miss things that may or may not be understood and appreciated by others grieving the same person. That is okay. Allow yourself to appreciate what and who have lost.
3. Creatively Express Your Loss
Have you ever noticed that the best songs, movies, pieces of art and just about every other form of creative expression have one thing in common? Many if not most of them were made by those who are experiencing some sort of loss and represent what that loss means/meant to its creator. This is why we are so moved by them. Finding your own way to express your loss creatively can be a fantastic outlet. Draw, sing, paint, play an instrument, dance, scream, break things, plan a trip in your loved ones honor do something that creatively represents your emotions in their raw form. You may be surprised by the beauty or beautiful experiences come from your expression of loss brokenness.
What has helped you in dealing with loneliness after loosing someone you love?
Today we are discussing three characters from the extremely powerful and moving film if Beale Street Could Talk. Have you seen the movie? What are your thoughts?
I have been asked more times than I can count what it is that made me want to become a funeral director. In this video, I share not only the answer to this question (not in great detail) but also what keeps me active in the funeral service industry.
Joél Simone Anthony, also known as ‘The Grave Woman,’ is a licensed funeral director and embalmer. She is dedicated to eliminating misconceptions about post-life preparation while stimulating an open, honest and straight forward discussion about death. You can submit your comments, questions and requests to email@example.com or by using our contact page.