Why Do We Tap Dance Around Death?
Grieving Has a Purpose –Interview with Cary Bliley, president of Bliley Funeral Home, with three locations in the Richmond Metro area.
“None of us want to be a burden on our families. So many times we see people choosing little or no ceremony when they plan for their death. Maybe because they don’t want to have loved ones be sad or to leave them with too much work after their death. A therapist would tell you to do the opposite. Families need to have a service, ceremony, or some type of ritual so they can feel the love and support from others. Your family needs to be sad, they need to mourn, to reach for the love of others and integrate the death into their current life.”
What’s so healthy about grieving?
“Our society teaches us to avoid pain. In the beginning, it’s easier to withdraw and not deal with loss. Grief psychologists will tell you that avoidance is the worst thing that you can do because it hinders the grieving process and can cause damaging effects on the living in the future.”
What in the world does a funeral have to do with healthy grieving?
“Funerals are also important because they demonstrate to the family that they are not alone and have the support of extended family, friends and others in the community. One thing we see that seems to really help families deal with grief the most is their hands-on involvement in whatever kind of service they choose. The more they participate and are engaged with what’s going on, the more sense they have of knowing they’ve done all they could to honor their love one. This seems to help them to move forward with their own lives.”
If cremation is my choice how can my family be actively involved in the ritual?
“About half of Richmond families today choose cremation. That’s why we built our cremation center with a space that encourages families to be present during cremation, much like they would be present at a graveside. This is the only space of its kind in the area that allows families to be there.
About 25-30% of families we work with who choose cremation elect to use the center to hold a service for their loved one. These range from small solemn services with clergy to upbeat celebrations of life. The sense of finality and sense of healing that families get from journeying with their loved one to that point is very beneficial for them. “
It seems like a lot more people are choosing cremation through a society or large corporation, is this a trend you are seeing?
“Well, yes and no. Yes- more people are choosing cremation. However, while people think they are choosing a local service, some funeral homes that were locally owned, have sold to larger corporations. Many of these large conglomerates utilize crematories that are located in warehouses and staffed with warehouse staff and not funeral directors.
“At Bliley’s not only are we locally owned, but we are family owned. Additionally, we have a cremation center unlike any other provider in the area where the family can actually be present at the cremation if they so choose.”
Is it strange if I want to come see the Cremation Center?
“No- it’s not strange to want to come see the Cremation Center. It is truly a lovely place and the more we arm ourselves with knowledge the less scary things are for the future. We are currently remodeling our Hull Street location but upon completion we will be doing open houses for the public. Check out our website for tours in 2018.”