Acute Loss Series #3: The Seeing Phase

“I can’t believe they’re gone…”

If you’ve lost someone you love, you’re probably familiar with that sentiment. Every day at Cypress Lawn Funeral Home, our professional team talks with people who are in shock after hearing news of a death. Some San Francisco Bay Area families who come to us to arrange a funeral, burial, or cremation attempt to suppress their feelings until after the service is over. Others are in such a state of disbelief they have trouble making sense of what happened or feel like it’s all a bad dream.

These moments right after the event of death until the onset of grief – what we refer to as the Acute Loss period – are critical to the healing process. So much so we’ve created a free Acute Loss brochure to help those going through it. This brochure, available as a hard copy or a downloadable PDF, outlines the seven keys to help after a loss. Our staff has heard time and time again that this material is eye-opening for those who are grieving. Because of this, we decided to take a more in-depth look at each stage in our blog.

Our first post addressed the first stage in the Acute Loss Period. This is called “The Hearing Phase,” and it begins the moment you hear about the death. This often happens through a phone call, a text, or even a social media post. No matter how you hear the news, learning about a death almost always catches you off guard. It’s common to begin to cope by calling others to share and process the news. This can provide comfort when it’s needed most.

Our second blog post in this series describes “The Sharing Phase,” which is where the healing cycle begins. As friends and family members call one another to tell the story of how their loved one died, a support system materializes. This reminds those who are grieving they are not alone in their pain. Most conversations conclude with the same question: “Do you know when the funeral service will be?”

We’re now at the third step, “The Seeing Phase,” when friends and family gather to pay tribute to their loved one. A funeral service is an opportunity to express the love you have for the person who died, while offering support for others experiencing the loss. It is unbelievably important to see one another in person, to hug, and share stories and memories. These moments together can pave the way for further healing during the days and months ahead. After all, the sooner you face the pain of loss, the better it is for your wellbeing.

The Seeing Phase is about more than giving and receiving comfort from friends and family; it’s also about saying goodbye to your loved one. Seeing them gives a sense of closure and is almost always beneficial. It makes the loss feel more real, and can close the gap between the heart and the mind. This is the antidote to the sentiment, “I can’t believe they’re gone.”

There’s one thing our Cypress Lawn team cannot emphasize enough: If you are able to make it to the funeral, go. A funeral service not only helps make the death seem more real, it also provides an immense sense of support to others in attendance.

This leads us to the next stage of the Acute Loss Period, “The Gathering Phase,” which we will describe in an upcoming blog. As always, our team is available 24/7, ready with a listening ear and information about our helpful aftercare tools. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us anytime.