Following the passing of a much loved Uncle and his choice to NOT have a funeral (or any sort of remembrance service), I am reminded of the role ritual plays in our human experience. While I totally respect his choice, I found myself feeling a little peeved that I wouldn’t be able to celebrate his life with my relatives. Humans have had rituals from the beginning of time around all sorts of things. Some are somewhat dubious but others such as weddings and funerals serve a purpose by helping us get together and both feel and begin to process the relevant emotions. They also mark beginnings and endings. Rituals may also be used to open and close gatherings, even small ones. In therapy I often use some sort of ritual to open and close sessions. These are usually simple and short ‘presence’ based exercises with the opening one often designed to help relax the client and the closing one to help ready the client for going out into the world again after what can be quite a deep and sometimes emotional experience.
Oh and I celebrated my Uncle’s life by journaling, writing a letter to him in the afterlife (which will remain in my journal) and sharing some of my memories of him with a cousin whom I’m very close too… in this way I created my own ritual, and it helped with my grieving process.
Wishing you well in this crazy human life.
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