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Lesson 7: In-Memorium: Helping to Release the Grief of Mourning

This section contains ideas for memorializing those who have passed, whether a friend, beloved pet or family member.



Ideas to Consider

Creating a funeral rite for a pet, friend or family member is a loving thing to do. Scattering their ashes in a place that was sacred to them is a beautiful way to honor their spirit. So is planting a tree in their memory, or making charitable contributions in their name. The ceremony or ritual should be appropriate to the person (or pet) it honors. 



Anger, Grief & Mourning

Everyone grieves differently. One weeps, one rages, yet another goes numb. One culture requires sackcloth and ashes, extravagant mourning, while another expects a brave face and stoic dignity. All responses to death are legitimate. 


A man in an Egyptian village lost both his sons in a car accident. Distraught, he took his rifle outside and fired it repeatedly at the sky. When asked what he was doing he replied that he was shooting at God. There is nothing wrong with being angry when someone dies. A grandmother was so furious with her husband when he died, at 59, that she ripped up all his photographs. This made her feel better. It is normal to feel anger at an untimely or unjust death, and this anger must be acknowledged and dealt with in order that healing may follow grief. 


Howling grief is perhaps the only appropriate response to a child's death. You can literally write the anger out of your body, even if this means scrawling "Fuck God," or "It isn't fair" fifty times. Then take that paper out into the yard and bury it, releasing your anger. To some people it would make them feel better.


Closure is needed after a death to complete the grieving and begin the healing. Closure usually takes the form of a funeral, but not always. In the case of a murder victim closure may not come until the killer is caught and convicted. With an accident victim it may not come until the body is recovered, or the cause of the accident determined and corrected. Deaths without closure are the hardest to come to terms with.


Note: Ok, shooting a gun will most likely land you in jail, but I think you get the idea! And tearing up all the pictures of your loved one may be a huge regret later, so maybe photocopy them first and tear up only the copies!

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