Not many people like to talk about death and burial. It seems to be a morbid subject that is avoided at all costs in ‘polite society’ – this is one of the reasons why grief is prescribed as a private affair.
Grief, like many emotions, is seen as being a spectacle that should not be observed by others: you are supposed to handle it on your own, in private.
I know that I had been taught that all public displays of emotions were unseemly and, if they were experienced at all then that should be only be behind closed doors, heavy curtains or thick covers. Emotions unsettle others – this was the message I received as a child – therefore you have to hide them away from yourself and others.
I learned to be ashamed of my emotions and feelings. I did not recognise them as anything good or healthy.
I have relearned to be in touch with my emotions – and embrace them.
I didn’t know that I was so capable of breaching tradition, but I have. When my father died I took a shovel and helped, in the West Indian tradition, to ‘bury your own’. The only thing that was surprising about this was that women do not undertake this role. I have never seen another woman do it before or since, but I knew that it was something that I had to do right there and then. I did not realise at the time how symbolic of my life that experience was to be.
The physical burial of my father was the beginning of a reversal in my emotional life. Not long after that time I began digging up my emotions and experiencing them, for real.
Strangely, this grave digging experience may have cause discomfort to others but for me it has been like learning to fly.
Because of the benefits that I have obtained since that time I would suggest that nobody should be an undertaker to all of their emotions. My advice is please do not place your emotions in a coffin and bury them.
My blog is akin to dropping a shovel for others to help them to start their own digging to freedom and feelings.