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.
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
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.