The Gift of Community Grief
Here's an interesting tidbit about elephants, they're one of the few animals that seem to really grieve as a community. They live in complex relationships with one another, and form close bonds over the potential decades that they live together in community. When one of them dies, they not only continue to return to the body for a period of time, but also increase their interaction with one another! I realize I run the risk of anthropomorphizing elephants here...but how interesting is it that they process the loss with each other.
As I reflect on the recent loss of my grandmother, a few days before her 99th birthday, I'm reminded of the mixed emotions that happen during a funeral. On one hand you're gathered for the purpose of remembering the person who we are (at least temporarily) separated from, which is really hard. On the other hand, there's so much joy in seeing people you've likely been separated from for a while. You may even find (as I did), that you are drawn closer to people you've held at a distance for some time.
Losing someone is hard, but don't discount the power of grieving loss together with others. It can be a really sweet gift in the middle of a difficult season.