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- Rebecca Hauder

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Create Rituals in Times of Loss

Create Rituals in Times of Loss

May 9, 2017

Rituals keep us from forgetting what must not be forgotten and keep us rooted in a past from which we must not be disconnected. ~Tony Compolo

Several weeks ago I took my mom's cremated remains back to her roots in Southeast Iowa to be buried alongside my dad in Sugar Creek Cemetery. In this small pastoral graveyard, amidst Iowa cornfields, 15 family members gathered for a service of remembrance and committal, and to dig a hole for burying the beautifully handcrafted box of Mom's ashes.  After about 30 minutes of excavation by those present, the box was carefully lowered into the ground. Before covring it with dirt, we recited Psalms 23, threw in stems of vibrant spring flowers, and said our final goodbyes.

Our simple meaningful graveside service made me aware, once again, of the value of ritual after a loved one dies. Rituals are vehicles for healing as we express our thoughts and feelings, and they foster respect and gratitude for the life and legacy of our loved one. Last, but not least, rituals and ceremonies provide a sense of stability and order in the midst of uncertainty and upheaval often accompanying grief. As Terry Tempest Williams once said: Rituals are the formulas by which harmony is restored."

What rituals have you found helpful in times of loss? 

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