Grief Rituals

My grief will tell me what it needs from me every step of the way.
Martha Whitmore Hickman

Finding ways to remember and honor our deceased loved ones assists in the grieving process. Grief rituals, beginning with the funeral or memorial service, help us acknowledge and mourn the loss. Rituals also symbolize what we cherish and want to keep in our hearts. They bring us comfort as we commemorate the one who has died.

Grief rituals may come from religious or family tradition, but we can create our own as well. Anything that has special meaning to us may be part of our mourning rite, from displaying photographs of our loved one to bringing flowers to the grave. One simple idea is creating a memory book of pictures and personal stories from a loved one's life. Or, you may want to invite close friends and family members to your home for an evening of shared memories.

Soon after our mother died, my sister and I were faced with our mother's birthday. We invited a few special people to a lunch in her memory at my sister's house, complete with birthday cake without writing. Instead of opening birthday gifts, we each shared stories of the many ways our mother gave of herself to others. It was comforting to spend Mom's birthday with ones who loved her, too.

The suggestions below honor deceased loved ones and you can do the activities with children:

One of the best ways to teach children that we respect the dead is to visit a well-kept cemetery. This can be a pleasant and meaningful family outing, especially during the fall and winter, because all of nature is in repose as it awaits the renewal of spring. If you live in the Cincinnati/TriState area, take a stroll through Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum, a tranquil place that honors life in a beautiful setting.  

Visit the graves of your own family members. Share family stories with your children about their grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins -- to remember their lives and especially how they influenced your life.

Instead of the ordinary bedtime routine, pull out your old family albums and look at them with your children. This usually inspires some good family stories that you might forget to tell them otherwise.  

Grief rituals, like grief, are deeply personal. Your heart will tell you what you need to do, or not do, in order to grieve. 



Go to next page: Anger: A Bridge Across the Abyss


The Grieving Heart is getting a new home...
Grief has no timetable, but the launch of a new website does: August 1, 2019.                                                                     
The updated design will be easy to use, secure and mobile-friendly.
Please visit again. Thank you!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

My E-mail:

Christine (at) The Grieving Heart (dot) info 

A Word About E-mail: One way to decrease SPAM caused by Internet bots is to deactivate the live address link. You can still contact me by typing this address into your own e-mail program using @, a period, and no spaces, the standard e-mail format. Thank you.

Note to Visitors:
I read and respond to grief email at the end of each month when I update this site. If you need a more timely response, please visit a well moderated grief healing discussion group. It is free to use and requires registration to participate. I am not part of this group, but certified grief counselors are there to help, support and comfort grievers and those who love them. Because the counselors lost funding for the site, they are grateful for voluntary donations.
Why no links to Facebook and other social media? Click here for the answer.   


How complicated and individual mending is,
the time required for healing
cannot be measured against any fixed calendar
Mary Jane Moffat
© Copyright 2008 - 2019 Christine Jette.
All rights reserved.