Goodbye – The Hardest Word 

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Families are being urged to talk about funerals and share their life experiences, to avoid regret later when the opportunity is gone.

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The Australian Funeral Directors Association says some families are choosing to have a no attendance cremation, without any type of service.

Visiting US grief specialist, Dr Alan Wolfelt, has spoken of an increase in unresolved grief, sometimes 10-years after the death of a loved one – because people elected not to have a funeral.

“Grief is the internal response to loss. Mourning is grief gone public. When people do not initiate grief into mourning through a meaningful funeral they become “at risk” for living in the shadow of the ghosts of grief. When we mourn well we go on to live well and love well. I always say…. funerals are about helping us know what to do when we do not know what to do. When we pack up our unmourned grief we carry it into our future”, said Dr Wolfelt.

AFDA National President John Fowler said grief is hard and sometimes unbearable, but it doesn’t go away if they choose to have no funeral service, try to deny the loss or shield ourselves or others from feeling the grief.

“All our significant life events are shared with others. Birthdays and weddings provide an opportunity to come together and share. A funeral does the same; it allows those who knew us to show that our life mattered to them.

“The irony of funerals is that they honour life. There are so many rituals and values in funerals that have meant so much for so long and have helped in the grieving process”, said Mr Fowler

AFDA has launched an online campaign to help people understand the importance of funeral rituals and discuss choices. A “Your Story” booklet allows people to record things like your earliest memories, pets, hobbies and things people don’t know about you to help prompt families and friends to have the discussion.

Access the website www.yourgoodbye.com or visit the Facebook page. AFDA has created a 30 second video to highlight the issue.

The AFDA is the oldest funeral industry association in Australia with more than 80- years of service.

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