9 Ways to Find Comfort in Ritual
“Today I have a choice. I can think about the past and mourn my losses or I can embrace the future and live in hope.” ~ Anonymous
Creating rituals can help us mourn our losses while also finding comfort. Taking time to express our sorrows can improve the quality of our lives. Understanding the depth of your loss first and allowing yourself to grieve can be the first part of creating new grief rituals.
When you think about it, our everyday is made up of mundane rituals such as morning coffee, afternoon yoga, or bedtime stories with our children and grandchildren. We do these rituals to find comfort, and the same can be said for grief rituals. When we’re in pain from loss, creating new routines can help us find solace in the world around us.
Rituals That Can Bring Comfort:
Visit the burial site.
Visiting the grave of a loved one on a regular schedule can be a special time alone to reflect on good memories. Some people find peace in speaking with the deceased as if they were there, sharing what is going on in their lives now. If your loved one was cremated, choose to visit where you scattered their ashes or just sit quietly with their urn.
Light a daily candle.
This can be a time of reflection each day. Choose a quiet time to do this whether in the morning or the evening. Think of this time as a chance to honor your loved one, say a prayer for them, or practice gratitude for all the positive things they brought into your life.
Create a memory scrapbook.
This can be a soothing project that allows you to cherish the past while creating something new. You can fill a memory scrapbook with postcards, drawings, letters, notes, dried flowers, photographs, or other precious memorabilia from your life together. When you want to feel close to the deceased you can spend time looking at your scrapbook, allowing yourself to process your feelings.
Carry a token.
Choose a significant item that reminds you of the deceased, you can carry it with you to bring you solace. Take it out to remind yourself of your times together and how much you cared for them. Find comfort in touching it throughout the day. This item can be a pen, necklace, key, or photo.
Write in a journal.
Writing in a journal every day can help you understand the many complicated feelings over a loss and become more self-aware of how to cope with them. It’s also a way to speak to the deceased on paper. You could offer details of your life with them and reflect on how they would react. This can help you feel closer to your loved one in sharing your life with them still but also allow yourself to process your grief.
Prepare a meal.
Cooking a favorite meal of your loved one each month and sharing it with family and friends, can help you all celebrate their life while still embracing your own. Choose a favorite drink, entrée, and dessert and make it a lively occasion. You could ask guests to go around the table and share a favorite story of the deceased that can provide moments of laughter and tears.
Look to flowers.
If your loved one had a favorite flower, consider planting them in your yard or purchase a bouquet on a regular basis. Choose a special spot to place them that has significance. It can be somewhere that you can sit at and think of the person you miss, remembering their love for these flowers.
Watch movies or shows.
Did you and your loved one have a favorite T.V. show or movie? Check out a series or movie you watched together. Think of why they loved certain parts of it and how you shared a bond for it. Quote your favorite sayings from it and remember how you once did this together.
Create a music playlist.
Did you share a love for certain music, bands, or musicians? Put together a playlist of favorites and choose a time to listen to them, such as on the way to work or relaxing in the backyard. Listening to these songs will help you remember why you loved this music and how it made you feel together.
Rituals give purpose to action and always serve to connect us to something else as we seek peace, clarity of mind, or to become more grounded. Creating a comforting ritual for yourself, alone or with others, is a unique way to honor yourself and your loved one – and the connection you’ll never lose. It’s also a chance to bridge the past and the future, by celebrating the present moment.
What could you do today, in a ritual, that would bring you comfort?