Grief – Honoring As Part Of Grieving The Loss of a Loved One

Grieving the loss of a loved one comes in as many forms as there are people grieving. A significant part of the process of the loss can be honoring this loss, honoring the person who has passed and honoring the self in that loss.

Traditional honoring

In many cultures there are traditional ways in which people who have passed away are honored. It starts in the way they are cared for once they are dead, whether they are being held at home or in a morgue, what the custom is of preparing the body for the funeral or cremation.

In that is also the personal honoring, shaped by our tradition that family and friends offer. It might be expected or welcome to visit the dead body at their home, yet for others it is not custom to view them.

Cultural differences

In some Asian cultures they celebrate the passing over of one of their villagers with a day of celebration and a public cremation, which I was once witness to when in Bali. The whole village seems to gather in festive outfits, to farewell their neighbor.

Personal choices

In the recent death of my child I wanted to honor my child in a way different to what I was used to in my culture, where traditionally people wore black or at least dark colors. I asked the people attending the farewell to wear white and to attend a celebration of her life, rather than a funeral. We also felt that we wanted to scatter her ashes over the sea so she could fly free in the wind or dive into the sea, back to nature where she came from.

In another personal choice of mine I chose to honor her day of passing over to spirit every months by specific rituals, which include lighting a special candle, choosing some cards and singing her song. On the six months anniversary I got myself a tattoo bearing her name on my arm to be able to carry her on my arms all times. This is a beautiful reminder, which makes me think of her regularly in a happy way.

Memory access points

Any place can be what I call a ‘memory access point’, if you give it that meaning. For many people it is the place their loved one is buried or where they have spent significant time. Other places may be their personal space, like a bedroom or an office which has significant personal meaning. I have found that I can create those memory access points wherever I want, even just by thinking of them or by performing a specific ritual like lighting a candle.

Memory access points can also be assigned to objects or animals, if they have become significant in relation to the loved one who has passed on.

Think about what would be most helpful for yourself in supporting your fond memory of the person you’re grieving and create your own honoring, which serves you.

Article Source: Nathalie Himmelrich on


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