The only thing worse than losing someone close to you is not being able to say goodbye at their funeral service. For many people over the past year, this was their reality as services were either limited attendance or impossible.
You’ll never forget the helpless feeling of grief that settles in when you can’t see a loved one’s final moments or give a few words at their funeral, but you don’t have to feel ashamed for it. Learn these essential ways to mourn someone when you couldn’t attend their funeral and release some of the pain that you’ve been hanging onto for so long, even if the event ended months ago.
Set a Memorial up at Home
Though you can’t, or couldn’t, make it to the funeral, you can still pay your respects at home. It may not feel the same as the support you’d get from friends and family at your loved one’s service, but it’ll allow you to air out your feelings while memorializing them at an altar you’ve created.
Find any physical reminders of your loved one—such as pictures, holiday cards, and gifts that they’ve given you—and set them on a table or dresser. Grieve the way you want to and then decide whether you’d like to keep it in your home or symbolically bury it somewhere special. You may also choose to set the memorial up at their grave when you can make it out to their final resting place.
Offer To Help Make Their Memorial More Special
If you know ahead of time that you can’t make it to the deceased’s funeral service and you aren’t responsible for the funeral costs, consider donating funds to make the ceremony more special. Help the person responsible for funeral costs afford to upgrade the casket or spruce up the monument. By asking them specifically how you can help, you can ease some of your guilt for being unable to attend the funeral.
If the event happened long ago and the grave marker is already in place, you can still offer to pay for an addition to it—such as a ceramic photo or even a brand-new headstone. Learn how to install a plaque to a headstone and help them with the monument’s edits—future generations will love seeing an image of their ancestor on the grave itself.
Ask Friends or Family to Visit the Grave With You
It doesn’t matter when, where, or how you grieve, as long as you let the feelings out with those closest to you. One of the best ways to mourn someone when you couldn’t attend their funeral is to simply visit the grave or memorial with others—especially if they also couldn’t attend. Pay your respects, talk about your memories, and share the love; everyone needs some empathy right now.