The death of someone close to us leave us shocked with grief. We cannot understand how one minute this person was here and the next they are gone. The truth is that those we love are never truly gone. The body may have run its course, but the soul lives forever. Human beings have been cognizant of eternal life since the beginning of time. Every culture has its own traditions about death and reincarnation. The anxiety commonly felt about death in our culture is a result of a scientific schema which says that "if I don't see it, it's not there".
One does not leave a funeral in the same way that he has come. He cannot help but have death on his mind. He cannot help but be aware that such is the end of all life. He may look at himself and have a new awareness that his body will not last forever. These thoughts are ones that humans must face and find a way to deal with. Some believe that the death is only the beginning of the next great mystery and the soul is eternal. Others take a practical view that death is all there is. One leaves a funeral with thoughts of life and its fragility on his mind.
When we lose something that is precious to us, we are left with a feeling of sadness. Whether it is a precious friend or even a treasured object, the loss can be hard to bear. It is as if a part of you has gone missing. Throughout our life we amass collections of friends and treasured possessions. Having close relationships help us feel as if we are not alone in the world. When we lose someone or something that is precious to us, we may realize that there is a certain aloneness that can never be filled. Ultimately the condition of life is one of being alone before G-d.
When a family member commits suicide, the entire family is plunged into confusion and grief. Life is instinctually valued by all of life's creatures. Even a blade of grass or flower fights for the privilege of life. When someone close to you voluntarily ends their lives, your entire value system is thrown into question. Family members may also be consumed with guilt, thinking that they somehow should have seen the signs that led to the individuals suicide. Group therapy with others who have experienced this trauma as well as individual therapy may be necessary to help cope.
The ability to feel sympathy for each other is one of the most beautiful traits that we possess as humans. The human condition is one of fundamental aloneness. When we reach out and share our sympathies with another human being in pain, we are offering a great kindness to the individual in pain. He knows that he is fundamentally alone but at least he knows that others care and are trying to understand.