The Journey to Healing


different kinds of flowers in the funeral

A meaningful funeral experience is vital to the present and long-term mental and emotional health of those grieving. It helps us move from life before a death to life after a death.

At Burstows Funerals we believe that every funeral should be unique to the deceased and their family, that families should never feel pressured or rushed during the funeral process, but feel free to experience their natural grief and mourn openly whenever the need arises.

For those attempting to cope with the seemingly overwhelming loss of someone precious to them, direct cremation and cardboard casket operators offer a superficially “quick, cheap and easy option”. They appear to provide the chance to “get this over with” and appeal to the notion that the deceased wouldn’t want you to be sad.

However, taking this path, avoiding grief rather than embracing and working through it, suppressing our emotions can lead to ongoing trauma, and add to rather than helping with continuing feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.

“He who has no time to mourn, has no time to heal,” as English scholar John Donne said.

The Australian Psychological Society states, “Grief is the natural reaction to loss, and can influence the physical, emotional, cognitive, behavioural and spiritual aspects of our lives. For most people, the experience of grief will dominate their emotions, thoughts, and behaviours for a number of weeks or months”.

The way people cope and the intensity and duration of grieving will be different for everyone. It is no reflection on how much they care. In fact, rather than “getting over” our grief as such, it is something that gradually softens and we become reconciled to our loss and begin to find new meaning in life.

World renowned grief counsellor Dr Alan Wolfelt believes today’s culture “tries to be happy when we should be sad … The death of someone loved changes our lives forever. And the movement from the ‘before’ to the ‘after’ is almost always a long, painful journey”.

“You should not deny your need to mourn and to embrace painful feelings of grief …. When we deny, inhibit, defend against emotions, our pain lasts longer,” Dr Wolfelt said.

So, saving time and possibly money, avoiding ceremony and “fuss”, and skipping the undeniably sad process of planning a funeral, can in fact come at a huge mental and emotional cost.

Burstows Funerals co-director Don Burstow recalls mentor and friend Alan Anderson telling him as a young man that “the guidance and counsel received 48-72 hours after the death of a loved one will impact that family either negatively or positively for the rest of their lives”.

That puts a huge responsibility on the shoulders of funeral directors, and is something Burstows Funerals takes very seriously. It is our purpose and honour to guide you through this sad and stressful time and to provide a unique, individualised transformational service experience that celebrates the deceased’s life and helps families and friends start the journey of healing grief.

We know that for a funeral to be effective it must achieve key elements for those grieving:

  • REALISE – Gently confront the reality that someone loved and cared for has gone.
  • REMEMBER – Embrace and share precious memories because remembering the past makes hoping for the future possible.
  • RECEIVE – Allow mourners to give and receive comfort and support from family, friends and professionals and know that they are not alone.

A funeral is not an ending, nor does it provide closure. It is about starting those who grieve on the journey to healing and moving towards a new future. Because of that, because life is so important, because grieving families need reliable, ongoing care that affirms their need to continue to mourn, it is not something to be rushed.


Contact Us

In the event of a death in the family, contact Burstows without delay. A funeral director is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and will provide help and guidance from the first contact.