If you’ve ever spoken to me about grief, I’m sure you’ve heard me describe it as being like water. At first, grief can feel like an overwhelming ocean that floods in over everything. You fear that you might drown, and you wish that there was some way to find a dry spot to stand on. You cling to your fellow survivors, or, even worse, get washed apart. For a long time, the water is the main feature of your environment, and all your choices and plans are somehow influenced by the waves that continue to wash into your life unpredictably. Gradually, you learn how to keep your head above the water, how to move around in the new wet world, and even, sometimes, you find a dry spot here and there. It’s all very fluid, in many ways.
Some new research has come out recently that might be helpful to people who are trying to stay afloat through the grief process. It turns out that rituals are very important. Not necessarily the big cultural rituals of funerals, but the small personal rituals. Whether it is a continuation of something you used to do together (a Sunday walk, a toast at dinner, a Friday night movie) or a routine of remembrance (saying good night, listening to a favourite song, writing a memory down every day) it is a very helpful thing to engage in a ritual of some kind.
So, if you are dealing with grief or a loss, maybe this article might help you to come up with a personal ritual to bring you comfort, and encourage healing. At least it may help you to feel like you are safely floating through this time, not at risk of drowning, but patiently making your way to a new world. What do you think of this article? Are there rituals that help you? Any ideas you would like to share to help people who are coping with grief?