Pastors and funeral directors perform a vital service for people who mourn. Both professionals bring order into the chaotic lives of grieving individuals, families, and those who love the mourners. Following the death of a loved one, when one feels the world no longer makes sense, the best pastors and funeral directors come in with compassion and plans. They listen to those who grieve and provide steps forward, leading out of the immediate chaos and providing answers to what becomes of my loved one now and how do I (we) go on with life? The structure, planning, and performance of the funeral service and interment (or handing over of the cremains in an appropriate urn) give order, provide meaning, and offer opportunity for the third element that is vital at such times, you.
And by you, I mean all of us who come to support an individual or family as they grieve. Many of us come in fear and trepidation. We spend most of our lives avoiding the issue of mortality and here it is, front and center. We approach with anxiety, not knowing what to say in the presence of this horrendous loss. But really, it is a simple thing. You (we) also help bring order into chaos. By our presence, our embraces, our tears, our remembrances, we help the grieving see that they are loved, that the whole world is not lost to them, and that there are people who will stand by them as they pass through this dark valley of grief.
When you receive the tragic news of the loss of a friend's family member, an associate's spouse, a workplace fellow employees loved one, be willing to step up. Do your part, no matter how mixed your feelings are. Your help is vital, it will be remembered, and in time you will receive that help in return. We are all here to help each other on our collective journey. Nobody gets out of life alive and nobody needs to make the journey alone.