People still hold funerals for the deceased whose bodies were never found, and you can still have a formal way to say goodbye to relationships that were never resolved. Gather all of the things that remind you of this person and burn them, or donate them to charity. Give a eulogy to the relationship, and say it out loud.
I gave the eulogy at my fathers funeral, I found the experience useful although incredible emotional – this is what I wrote:
I would like to thank people for attending on this sad occasion.
I do not think of my dad, John and think of sadness.
I remember a man who was born in Blackpool and had a difficult time being a young man, who couldn’t wait to leave home and join the army, where he served in Egypt. Anyone who knew my dad would know some of the stories he told, it was a hard life being there, but I always sensed pride in his experiences
On his return to the UK he joined the police, I remember the story he used to tell me about working for the CID and dressing as a tramp to catch criminals, its hard to imagine, but true. It is funny that many years later I used to work as a kissogram, sometimes, dressing as a policeman
I remember that my father was disowned by his own parents because of who he choose to marry, something that I always found difficult to comprehend, but I see how strong my father was, willing to give up family for the person who he loved
I remember one year, the night before we were going away on holiday, my dad messing around with the police handcuffs and then not being able to unlock them, and the panic we had thinking that my dad would be boarding the plane looking like a criminal off a film, we even planned to cover the handcuffs with a well placed jumper so that no one would notice, thankfully, we managed to unlock the cuffs
I remember as a child being taken on holiday to Spain and Italy when I was 9 and 10, I was very fortunate to experience these adventures, my father never shyed away from new experiences, something that I have inherited
I thought that it was funny that our first holiday in Salou in Spain in 1973 would be the place I worked many years later as a DJ in 1989
I remember my dads love of good food and wine, how my dad could be the life and soul of the party, how he made his cheeky jokes to make people smile
I remember how my father used to hatch plans on how to buy bottles of Johnnie Walker whiskey abroad when it was banned in England, he could be sneeky like that
I remember how blessed I am to have such a generous father, who never held back when I or others needed help or assistance. For me this is a path that I have followed, in my work I have had roles that help and support people
I remember that my dad had only one question for me, ‘are you happy’?
Because of all my dads experiences in life, made him a complex man, an individual, who didn’t always get on with everyone, but aren’t we all like that in some way
All my life I had people telling me how much I looked like my father, I guess that I always found this difficult as I always wanted to be seen as me
One day in my early 20’s I was in Blackpool meeting a mate and I saw my father walking towards me, my instant thought was ‘what’s my father doing here’? of course I then realised that I was indeed looking at my reflection in a shop window and I realised that I did indeed look like my father, even I thought I did
It is because of all these things that make the last year so difficult to take in and understand I still don’t understand what has happened and why he is not here
But I know that John, my dad was proud of me and I am of my dad and all he accompanied in his life
I do not want people to think of my dad with sad thoughts, I want people to remember a strong man, an individual, a generous man, my father, husband to Lillian, step father to John, father in law to Paul and Elaine, grandfather to Jenna