Sunday, August 3, 2008

Rough Week

Since I arrived at this, my first call, I have done my fair share of funerals. However, I have not known any of the people whose funerals I have performed. This past week everything changed. When I arrived a member of the congregation was diagnosed with cancer, and this past week she passed. As it happened another member of the congregation who hadn't lived here for ten years also passed, so I had a graveside service yesterday, worship and communion today and a funeral tomorrow.

It is a whole different experience burying someone that you know and have become close. I am currently just getting through it and will have time to process later. Any advice on how to process? CPE training is one thing, but real world application is different :) I would love some input from more seasoned pastors. Thanks!


Songbird said...

You can't help feeling emotional about the first one you knew well. You will always care, but this one will no doubt remain special to you. I know mine does. My advice (which may be too late if the service is today): be as organized as possible and have everything written down, so that you are not left searching for words when you are already feeling personal sadness.
It's a privilege to play this role in people's lives, but it's hard work. When it's over, do something you love to do that is part of taking care of yourself, whatever that might be. I don't know if you receive and keep an honorarium, but I know I felt funny about that when I really knew the person, so I made a choice to use those checks for something special. We have a guitar that will always remind me of a certain person, for instance; deciding to do that helped.
Meanwhile, sending you virtual hugs.

Sooner Pastor said...

I really appreciate your advice Songbird and I put it to use :)