Details for Page 2 Tribute Story

My name is Bob Eastgate and I’ve been a funeral director in Bismarck since 1983.That seems like a long time ago now; but, it’s amazing how fast life goes by. My dad was a funeral director which is why I was introduced to funeral service. I never thought I’d consider it as a career, and while I tried working at the funeral home in high school; I lasted two days. Needless to say, as time went by, and getting a little older, more mature; I started to understand how important the work was to serve our community when their loved ones have died. As I’ve often said,“We have a funeral not only because this person died, but more importantly; they lived. Let’s celebrate their life and hopefully we can assist the family in doing just that. Now as I’ve given tours of the funeral home to young people and various church and civic groups, I’ve explained to families what I call the ‘Four T’s’.This is to help families in their grief as well as help others you know go through grief. When we experience loss in life, whether it’s a death or other losses, such as divorce, having a pet die, moving from one town to another and having to say goodbye to your friends, getting older, etc. We experience grief. Grief is an emotion like joy, anger, happiness, sadness. Bereavement is the term describing ‘being separated from’. So, these different losses we experience are all ways in which we may become “bereaved”. And when we become bereaved, we grieve.The expression of that grief is defined as mourning. People mourn in different ways. Some do cry, some get very quiet, sometimes people get very busy, and often we tell stories about a person that can even make us laugh. All are expressions of grieving and truly in a sense, saying goodbye. At least for now. So, the four T’s are Talk,Touch,Tears, and Time. We all need someone we can talk to, risk free, who won’t think we’re crazy or will judge us. We need to feel safe with that person or persons. Could be a family member, a teacher, pastor, or good friend. By touch, I’m referring to being available to my friend or family when they are hurting. I’ve said, sometimes its good to have your mouth closed and your arms open. Dr. Alan Wolfelt refers to this as companioning. In other words, I’m not going to avoid my friend because I’m uncomfortable with being around a hurting person. I’ll be there for them. With tears, very simply, we know tears are not a sign of weakness, but of love and caring. Although, it is hard for me to cry, when someone I’ve loved has died, I’ve found tears to be healing. Far too often, we mistake tears as being weak. NOT SO. And with time, people will say,‘Time heals all wounds.’ I say maybe. It depends on what you do with your time. If you choose unhealthy ways to deal with your pain, such as overdrinking or isolating yourself, time can be an enemy. It’s important to reach out eventually to other people. There is a saying,“Grief shared, is grief diminished; Joy shared is joy increased.” Bob Eastgate Licensed Funeral Director/Owner

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