Rituals help us to move through challenging transitions and changing times. Often people who are going through the difficult feelings and emotions of loss & grief find themselves either naturally performing certain rituals or purposefully creating & planning new ones. Transitions involve change and change involves loss. Rituals give us a sense of honoring what we have lost and in doing so, we honor who we are , and how we have changed, in the loss.
Wakes, funerals, sitting Shiva, visits to the cemetery, spreading ashes, wearing ribbons or wristbands, designing tombstones, creating memorials all help us get through difficult feelings of loss & grief. Also many small rituals that we perform each day help us memorialize the beloved or help us honor our own grief. Rituals often help us mark holidays, birthdays & passing dates. Often our particular faiths prescribe certain traditions. Also we can feel moved to create our own individual, unique forms of ritual, that help to memorialize our grief.
There are examples of grief rituals in our contemporary culture including: Vietnam Veteran wall, the 9-11 Quilts, the leaving of flowers & presents at the site of a death, lighting candlescreating memorial runs & walks, scholarship & foundations.
The possibilities for creating rituals and memorializing grief are as varied as we are as people and as unique as our own lives and the lives of our beloved. .
Here are some ideas for memorializing grief: scrapbooking, writing stories and songs, making of art, sitting in meditation, lighting candles, sending off balloons with messages inside, making their favorite foods, a story telling circle, , wearing talismans, creating memorial plaques & benches & gardens.
It is important to trust your intuition in the process of memorializing your grief.