Guide Griever Towards Comforting Rituals
Three words of caution: balance, balance, and balance. Engaging in periodic healing rituals is okay. Continuous, repetitious rituals, performed in an exacting and a methodical manner, are not balanced; they can be obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Engaging in obsessive-compulsive rites is crossing the line between healthy and unhealthy behavior. If you suspect a griever has crossed that line, suggest professional counseling. They are not crazy, sick, or nuts; they have only lost their balance. Some possible healing activities you could suggest to the griever:
- Wear Some of the Loved One’s Clothing
Wearing clothing aids the griever in feeling connected to their loved one.
- Play Some of the Loved One’s Favorite Music
Music can sometimes be so emotionally charged. Playing a loved one’s favorite music is a way to bridge intellectualizing grief towards feeling grief. Music helps move grief from the head to the heart.
- Cook the Loved One’s Favorite Foods
I love to cook because it is one way I can lovingly nourish my family and friends. My brother loved to eat good food. So, for special days, I make his favorite feasts and we remember him and celebrate his life.
- Communicate with the Loved One
Encourage talking and writing to the deceased. Griever’s may talk aloud or silently to their loved one. Grievers, with whom I work, report that letter writing has aided their healing process.
- Collect Memorabilia
Suggest a special box to hold all of the sympathy cards, newspaper articles, and letters. On anniversaries, such as birthdays and death date, suggest the griever get out the box to review some of the memorabilia.
- Mail Letters to Heaven
This is great for children, but adults may find it beneficial too. Write letters and then tie them to helium balloons with ribbons. Find an open area, say a prayer, and release them.
- Acknowledge Special Traditions
If possible, continue engaging in previously shared traditions. Continue the special 4th of July picnic, the Friday night root beer floats, or any other special tradition. This is a good way to feel connected.