Dealing with the loss of a loved one when you can’t say goodbye

By Oct 6, 2017 No Comments

How to say Goodbye – dealing with loss

Day and night. Summer and winter. Light and dark. Hot and cold. Life and death. Death… So still and yet able to elicit a hundred broken emotions. The loss of a loved one can be traumatic; especially when you can’t attend the funeral. This can be due to academic, financial or emotional restrains.

How do you say goodbye when you are so far away? How do you start healing when you are not there to close a door on a chapter of your life, and open another to happy memories. So many emotions may arise, including but not limited to grief, guilt, resentment, pain, anger, sadness, despair and frustration.

Here’s what to consider if you are the one that has to bid farewell to a family member or someone close and cannot be at the funeral for whatever reason.

Surround yourself with love and light

Death has a way of draining joy out of even the most ordinary things. When one is grieving, it is possible to even miss the sun. Share your loss with someone you trust. Try not to be alone for that particular day and/or week. Surround yourself with people who add love and light to your life. If you are alone and don’t have access to friends and family, perhaps go to a park, garden, local pond or somewhere where you can grieve privately, but not be entirely alone.

See the bigger picture

Don’t beat yourself around the fact that you missed their funeral. Remember that life is not made up of one day. Unpack all the special memories that you had, even the fights that made your relationship unique and real. If your loved one could come alive, they would not be bothered about whether the last time you met was kind or hostile, or even that you missed their funeral, but they would be thankful for all the love they shared with you

Be kind to yourself

If you passed away, would you want the day of your death to be the end of the lives of those left behind? God forbid! You would want them to live, love and go even further. You would pray that they can heal and enjoy a thousand sunsets. Eventually, you would hope they remember you and smile, as opposed to thinking of you and dying inside for the rest of their lives.

Chances are if your loved one could talk, they would inspire you to finish your qualification, live on to have meaningful relationships and love again. Be kind to yourself.


Crying can bring so much healing. If your heart feels heavy and sad; go for it and cry. Crying cleanses the soul. It releases us from the pretence of being “ok”. Allowing your heart to pour out and splatter can somehow pull you together and allow you to re-member. Tears are therapeutic and downright comforting.

Remember that you don’t have to go at it alone. There are many free 24/7 resources with counsellors who are ready to walk this journey with you.

Say goodbye your way

While at it, remember that although your loved one’s body may be returning to the ground as ashes, their spirit man and body is intact. Let this encourage you to say goodbye to your loved one in your own way. Write a poem, pen a letter, say a prayer, light a candle, send them an inbox on social media, tuck into their favorite ice cream, play their jam, sing their favourite hymn… Embrace and release life and let the comfort of life in a new immortal body strengthen you.


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