Bereavement: A Look At How Rituals And Funerals Can Play A Role In Helping You Cope

The bond that tethers you to a loved one is something you treasure in your heart and mind through memories and feelings. After all the changes that occurred as a result of the pandemic, it was a difficult experience for people all over the world. Moving through these transitions to achieve closure might be difficult at times. All around the world people’s beliefs and funeral traditions differ. 

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels

Everything surrounding that painful word death is not the same for everyone; each person’s grieving process is unique, and that painful experience is an emotional journey that can change you. It may be tough to learn how to cope with sorrow, and it can be difficult to grieve the death of a loved one. Learning how funerals and rituals can play a role in helping you cope with that grief can be a step in the direction of sitting with your emotions and further connecting with your loved ones. Regardless of where you are, as a way to say farewell or just be close to them in those silent moments. 

What Roles Rituals Play 

The act of creating a ritual has meaning and creates purpose. A ritual is known to take on different forms as they are customized to suit you according to what you need and want at that moment. This plays a role in helping you create that connection that is highly personal for you and those that may be participating in the ritual with you unless you wish to go through this particular experience alone. 

Even though the word, ritual, has been connected to symbolic acts that have stood the test of time and connected to both spiritual and religious practices it can also be found in our everyday lives. As counsellors may put it, that is completely subjective to you. This is what you may know as a routine that centres you, which can either be a simple cup of tea, sitting out in nature, meditating, or even reading a book on a daily or weekly basis at certain times of the day. However, there is a difference between a purposefully spiritual ritual in this context and habitual routines that become ritualistic in practice. Even though both have the capacity to centre you. 

Yes, habits and routines require conscious practice and thinking at first, but they might become less thoughtful or significant depending on what you are doing. Even if they keep you on track with your lifestyle. The function that rituals play in grieving means that it also becomes spiritual, which is very personal and becomes a custom that, as previously stated, is more intentional in practice. It isn’t done every day and allows you to believe in something that you don’t always necessarily see but feel within the experience of learning the lessons in life and death.  

The Different Types of Rituals

Rituals do not have to be grand gestures. They can be little actions that you perform on your schedule, such as lighting a candle, incense, or sky lanterns in their memory in a location that you believe links you to them on a more spiritual level, either alone or with others. You might send letters to them in which you freely discuss what is important to you, or you could freely dance and sing in nature while remembering their smile and memories. 

The ritual marks the sentiments you want to imprint inside you and can be adjusted in any way you see fit, aside from the examples provided. The ritualistic acts that you can find that are meaningful to you all have one thing in common: they pay tribute to the departed. Otherwise, the rites adapt in practice and are frequently used at memorial ceremonies and funerals. Some people leave a lasting legacy or a place of remembrance that ties people to a certain location or an act of passion that they valued.

A legacy is known to be a building block that immortalises their passions where the community can come together and participate whether they knew your loved one or not. Whereas, the memory that you create of them is also immortalised but they are markers that are created for them which can be a tree that is planted, a bench in their name, or even something as simple as a totem made after them whether it is big or small.     

The Importance of Funerals

A funeral or memorial service may be viewed as a ritualistic occasion in which everyone across the world participates to mourn and honour the deceased. It brings individuals together to participate in and absorb what has happened, allowing the community of friends and family to support one another in their grief. Sometimes it brings friends who haven’t seen them in years come to offer their support for the family and to recall the beauty of their lives. 

This showcases the elements that bring about the purpose of funerals. It serves as an outlet for the emotions that are within us but you may still need grief counselling. You open the door to depressed and severe emotional states when you don’t allow yourself to experience the emotional pain within you, as grief counsellor Dr Alan Wolfelt explained when he stated that people, “try to be happy when we should be sad … The death of someone loved changes our lives forever. And the movement from the ‘before’ to the ‘after’ is almost always a long, painful journey”.   

There are different types of funerals that people engage in are based on their beliefs and traditions. Funeral Directors can help you arrange the type of service you are looking to hold and whether you want it to be religious or non-religious. Pagan funerals are diverse as the path that every paganist takes is also built upon different beliefs and practices that are unique to every individual. A ceremony will have pastors, priestesses, or funeral directors who can help you through the funeral traditions and ceremonies that assist you in paying respects to the beliefs of your loved one. It is not only a time to mourn but also a time to celebrate the life that has been lived.

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

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*This is a collaborative article

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