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The Gray Area of Death

The hardest conversations are those we are most reluctant to have with ourselves and loved ones. We shy away from this dialogue because we are fearful of what emotions will be invoked—to us and them. Many of these uneasy conversations tend to center around dying; a topic that should never be taken lightly. Or should it? Are we placing too much pressure on ourselves when planning? Is this the real reason so many of us avoid the topic?

The answer is all dependent on who you ask.

So, how do you find the answer for you and your family?

The first thing to know is that every family has their own, unique way of dealing with death. Some may wait to discuss their “last wishes” before it is deemed “too late.” Other families may have a detailed plan in place for every possible situation and be at complete peace with the process of death. But for those who are neither black nor white on the topic, they can feel a sense of limbo when things seem gray.

Our suggestion is to be at peace with this gray area. Yes—really! If you don’t find yourself on one end or the other, take comfort in the process while relying on your loved ones. Far too often we get so caught up with what he/she wanted or said to one family member that doesn’t coincide with another. The details become too much and we lose sight of what is really important.

Being in the gray area is okay because it allows family members to come together and have an open discussion about that individual who passed. Each family member should feel free to express their feelings and wishes to celebrate that person’s life. If we keep this in mind and respect everyone involved—the feeling of limbo may subside quicker than you anticipated.

Even the most “planned” services will have their hiccups because opinions and feelings may challenge these wishes. Our advice is to be flexible with family but remain respectful and loyal to the deceased. Don’t let under or over planning get the best of you and take away what is most important—honoring your loved one.

Article Submitted by:

Tim & Alison Dinan, Cook Family Funeral Home & Cremation Service, and Hillcrest Cemetery


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