living your best to the end

Grief and relief: tradition, culture and religion

In this fast-forward world, it can seem that grief should have a ‘best before’ date. It can be uncomfortable – for those grieving and those around. Grief can also be exhausting and stressful and relentless. Considering few of us are spared the knife-cut that comes with the sorrow of loss, there are time-honoured rituals and traditions that help on the road to softening suffering. Christian For Christians, a wake includes visitation – seeing the body – and, after the funteral, gathering to pray for and celebrate the life of the deceased. From: The Light Beyond Jewish In the Jewish tradition “Sitting Shiva’ is 7 days of mourning during which time the bereaved is (are) never alone: Our sages allocate days one through three for crying, and days four through seven for eulogizing. After that, one does not mourn excessively, but follows a grieving process that gradually diminishes. Ideally all of the direct mourners sit shiva in the house of the deceased, for it says, “Where a person lived, there does his spirit continue to dwell.” Thus the presence of the person who has passed away is strongest in his own home From: Chabad.org Indigenous There are  many pre-death rituals to help the the dying on their journey and also to help those left behind:. It was very touching to see that at the end of the funeral where the burial.. the sun dance drum ent to sing that last song for her. I’ts calld the Traveller’s SSong.. it’s a beautifl son, a beautiful song and it’s her journey back to the spirit world I think [that kind of ]...

Grief and Grieving: death, dying and beyond

Grief and grieving: in life and death For each of us, our Book of Life has many chapters on grief and grieving, covering a broad spectrum: I can still conjure the pang of loss when my youngest went to Kindergarten;  the sense of betrayal caused by the end of a friendship, and seeing neighbourhoods change or vanish. I’ve grieved them all. We each grieve differently (I’m always taken aback by those who judge based on lack of ‘expected’ signs of grief) and we each grieve different things: One 30 year old grieves her thick auburn hair turning gray, while a 65-year old grieves her 40-year old son going bald. When it comes to aging and illness I am learning  – although not necessarily articulated as such – we grieve losses along the way: Roberta, 70, grieves arthritic knees that prevent her running – an activity that calmed her brain while keeping her fit. Then, there’s the grief and grieving that comes with end of life and death –  warranting separate chapters in our Book of Life. That grief is so specific that Meghan O’Rourke, in her book The Long Goodbye – written after her mother’s death,  quotes  Iris Murdoch: “The bereaved cannot talk to the un-bereaved.” It’s true that many of us are uncomfortable, uneasy and untrained in response to grief of any kind. However, for a death, there are long- practiced traditions and rituals in our respective cultures that have served as time-honoured comfort for those benumbed including our communities cocooning the bereaved. In some societies, there is no recovery from the grief brought on by death. Yet,...