A Ruined Funeral and How I Fixed It

Have you ever had an important event ruined because you were angered by someone? I have. Were you able to work through that anger?

I am remembering the funeral for my grandfather a few months ago and how I observed many things—about how people grieve differently, about how not dealing with current emotions contributes to trapped emotions, and vise versa—how not clearing trapped emotions from the past contributes to deeper suffering in current emotions.

Honor and respect shown to my grandfather for his service to his country.

But the greatest thing I learned was about myself. The day after the funeral, I had a discussion with one of my relatives about the funeral service. She had felt the service was lovely. I agreed, yet I also felt a few things that were said had been inappropriate timing for a funeral. No big deal to me, I had worked through those emotions the day before.

We texted this conversation back and forth, and she began saying people of my faith were very close minded and unwilling to accept others for who they are. I was not trying to tell her I wasn’t accepting of the speaker at the funeral, I just felt there was a better time for this person to air their frustrations with my grandfather.

Anyway, in all of this, I felt myself getting a little heated, trying to defend my point of view.

PROBLEM: I was having a confrontational conversation and could feel myself getting “worked up.” This was tainting my grandfather’s funeral for me.

I was feeling uncomfortable now in my emotions. Why was I worked up? And what emotions did “worked up” even mean?

So I explored it. “What am I feeling?” I asked. The answer came: “Anger.” That made sense to me. Anger tells me a boundary has been violated. In this moment, I sensed what boundary it was: the boundary of respect for me and my faith. I felt she, by insulting the people of my faith, was insulting me as well. Well, I reestablished that violated boundary by giving the insult back to her (I didn’t throw it back in her face. LOL. I just visualized giving the energy of that insult back to her.) And then I reaffirmed to myself that whether she thinks that or not, I am still who I am. I can still have confidence in my faith and in who I am—that I’m where I need to be and doing what I need to do.

The anger was gone now. But my heart was still racing. It is a feeling I recognize sometimes when I start to have a defensive conversation.

So I asked now, “What am I feeling?” This time, the answer surprised me. “Fear.” Hmmmm. I had to think on that . . . and I had to ask: “What do I fear?”

The answer came clearly. I feared to say something I shouldn’t.

The questions when you recognize fear is this: “What are my options? What choice do I need to make?” As I pondered on what choice I needed to make, I realized my options were this: to say everything my raging heart desired, or to be more careful with my words and keep on God’s side.

Of course, I knew the answer. I needed to check in with God before I sent my texts. I needed to ask Him if what I was saying was what He wanted me to say. I needed to rely on some guidance from Him, rather than rattle off my thoughts and opinions unguarded. I needed to keep myself in check: was I saying things from a place of love, compassion, and acceptance to others? Or was I saying thing from a place of vengeance and spite?

SOLUTION: I dissected the emotions and recognized anger first. I discovered what action anger was telling me to take, then took it. I then realized I was experiencing fear, and took the same steps to work through that emotion.

Realizing this, I felt very much at peace, though it was now too late. The conversation was over. But I will remember this and hopefully put it into practice next time I feel the need to express myself with opposing ideas. This will give me the confidence and strength to verbalize what I need to, without doing it with mal intent or disregard for the other person’s feelings.

The folding of the flag to give to my Grandma.

I’m grateful I was able to work through these emotions so I can recall the funeral services with tender memories now, rather than frustration, anger, disappointment, and the other array of emotions I was feeling because of the events that occurred. As much as we want a perfect situation, a perfect moment in time to record an important moment, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. But I am okay with it now.

IMG_6815Donald Robinson Kirkham

Donald “Bob” Robinson Kirkham

I miss my grandfather deeply. He lived just around the corner from my childhood home; I’ve spent hundreds of hours with him. He is my hero, my friend.

But I know I will see him again someday! I look forward to that time when we will be reunited and old age will no longer constrain his vibrant, energetic soul.

What happens after we die? Do we exist beyond the grave? Watch this two-minute video clip of what I believe. 

Now, are you ready?

Is it time to heal the memory of that ruined important event? Do you want to refinish it now? You know, apply a new coat of paint on the recollection of that incident?

Let’s do it.

You and me.

Right here. Right now.

Think back to that experience you had–when someone angered you, and you felt it ruined your whole experience of that important event. Now focus on that anger. Where do you feel it in your body? Is it in your gut? Does it make your face burn? Does it throb in your head?

Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Go to that place (and if you’re not sure where it is, just visualize going deep to your inner core) and ask, “What boundaries were violated here?”

Don’t assume! Just wait and listen. Assumptions and expectations will block you in truly hearing and working through your emotions.

Once you’ve received the answer, ask the next question. “What needs to be done to restore my boundary?” Listen for the answer. It will come!

Your emotions are messengers that always give you an action item. Do it! Sometimes it’s physical. Sometimes it’s emotional. Sometimes it’s spiritual. And sometimes it’s energetic. Whatever it is, do it! And the anger will have then done its job and leave you in peace.

(If you feel your anger is telling you to do someone harm, stop and re-evaluate your situation. Listen again. Anger will never tell you to hurt someone. It will only ever tell you a step you can take to become a better person.)

Once you’ve crossed off that to-do item, take a moment to inventory how you feel. How’s that anger now?

Is there any other emotion now present? Leave a comment below and tell me what other emotion is tied into your experience. We can work through that one as well!

The time, effort, and energy to work through your emotions is well worth your effort. Your important event was just that: an important event! You want to treasure that memory for a long time. So do the steps. Work through the emotions. I know you can.

P.S. Do you know someone who would benefit from doing this? Do them a favor and share this with them!



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