How to Handle a Cremation Service When You're Angry at the Deceased

7 October 2016
 Categories: , Blog


After a loved one dies, there is a lot of pressure in American society to sort of view the deceased as a saint. There is even a longstanding platitude about never speaking ill of the dead. However, anger is a part of the way most people experience grief, and sometimes that anger is directed at the person who died. It may be simply an irrational anger at them for dying and, therefore, leaving you behind, or it may be because of wrongs they did while they were alive. Whatever the case may be, allow yourself to feel your emotions. Here are the best ways to handle them at the cremation service.

Refrain from Giving the Eulogy or Other Tributes

Politely decline the opportunity to speak about the deceased if you are feeling anger towards them. It can be hard to conceal those complicated feelings, and it's important to safeguard mourners from that anger so they can concentrate on memorializing the loved one in their own way. If you feel obligated to talk about the loved one at the cremation service, focus on matter-of-fact discussions about memories and stay away from how you feel about the person.

Express the Anger in Healthy Ways

People tend to see tears as purely an expression of sadness, but a few other emotions can also trigger tears. Anger is one of them. If your anger boils up at the cremation service, it's okay to release that anger into tears. Nobody will know the true cause of the tears unless you tell them, and this is a perfectly acceptable reaction during any cremation service. Another thing you may want to do is write out your feelings. If you feel that you need to express them right there and then, write your feelings down in a notebook or other piece of paper. Do what it takes to not distract from the memorial service.

Make Plans to Celebrate the Person's Life Later 

If you are unable to truly participate in the cremation service wholeheartedly because of the anger that you are feeling, make plans to properly celebrate their life later on. The cremation service is a sort of communal ceremony of mourning, but you can pay your own respects in a more private way later on. Funeral homes like Union Funeral Home-Lytwyn & Lytwyn will have a plaque or similar memorial you can visit, or you can return to the site where the ashes were scattered to help you feel closer to the person. The immediate tribute can be deferred in your mind until you are able to let go of the anger.  

Finally, keep in mind that anger is never a pretty emotion, but it's an inevitable part of the human experience. Everybody experiences anger as a regular part of life for a wide variety of reasons. If you are feeling anger or even rage after a death, there is no need to feel ashamed. Simply follow the above tips for how to best handle it at a cremation service and consider seeing a counselor to help with ongoing grief after a loved one passes away. A caring professional can help you best handle the complex emotions of grief.