What does the funeral provide for the bereaved? Thoughts from SAIF’s Paul Allcock.

08/02/2018   //   No Comments

Some years ago I wrote a document entitled ‘What the funeral provides for the bereaved’. This I wrote with the intention of simply giving those interested an insight and an understanding of the benefits of a funeral, and also to make people think a little   outside of the box and to question some of the assumptions we often make as individuals about others.  The document consists of 10 chapters. Following two months of blogs which had the first 4 chapters, I have included chapters 5 and 6 in this blog, and the rest will follow in my subsequent blogs.

As usual I am happy to answer any questions regarding the content, but I also ask that you question yourself and to use your personal experiences to make appropriate judgements.


One of the more severe effects of the emotional crisis that we encounter at the time of the death of someone we love is the sense of rapid, turbulent change, and the infusion of new people into one’s life. It is an accepted notion today that people resist rapid change. We all feel secure in the things we know. Too much change and too much confrontation with the unknown or unfamiliar can produce organic and emotional reactions.

In such turbulent times, it is important to have people around us who offer stability and dependability. Unfortunately, many people do not have stability within their own family, and if this support is not forthcoming from elsewhere, then severe problems can easily occur.  It is again the professional and volunteer carers who often find themselves shouldering this burden. None more so than the funeral director during our relationship with our clients.


In times of crisis it is a natural reaction to call on others for support. This is particularly relevant at the time of the funeral. A death announcement in a newspaper, or maybe a Facebook post in more recent times, can sometimes be looked upon as a call for help from friends and family.  The fact that we attend the service, send cards and often make a personal visit or phone call are all acts of support that can be very helpful at this particular time.

It is usually after the funeral, when family have returned home and friends are getting back to their daily routines, that the real care and support is needed.  The group support at the time of the funeral is however a vital source of comfort, which can very often fend off initial and subsequent bereavement difficulties. Let us not forget the families we have served in the days, weeks and months after the funeral.

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