Creating Rituals During The
Journey of Hearts
A Healing Place in CyberSpaceTM
Creating Rituals During
by Gail R Mitchell
Webster's Dictionary defines:
Rite - as
a prescribed form or manner governing the words or actions for a ceremony.
A ceremonial act or action; an initiation.
Ritual - as:
relating to rites or ritual,: according to a religious law or social custom;
the established form for a ceremony; a ceremonial act of action; any formal
and customarily repeated act or series of acts.
There are many types of rituals
other than purely religious. Taking a daily morning walk or meditating
can be considered a ritual. For most, the term "ritual" represents an extended
meaning to a set of actions. Many think of funeral memorials, deaths and
rites of passage as rituals. Creating rituals during the holidays is a
way to give special meaning to those for whom you are caring as well as
those for whom you are grieving. Creating a sacred ritual can offer a tremendous
sense of honoring for the loved one you are missing. It also offers balance,
comfort and support for you. The overall effect of creating rituals can
assist you in coping with the coming holidays.
In continuing with your healing
over your loss, you might also design rituals for anniversaries, birthdays
and other events that were symbolic for you and your loved one. Rituals
can help you to establish the spiritual meaning and understanding of your
loss. The ritual becomes an ongoing memorial or representation that you
can respond to and absorb the significant changes that have taken place.
When you create a ritual from your heart, special meaning will fill you
with purpose and most of all love.
Suggestions for filling your holiday
loss and tears with celebration and love:
Rituals empower people emotionally,
mentally, and spiritually. Caregivers in all countries who create rituals
through customs, traditions, and their own desire to invent a new ritual
that provides meaning in their life, have the opportunity to extend a person's
presence beyond death. While our society encourages us to mourn quickly
and return to our normal lives, it is particularly difficult for former
caregivers who have experienced so much loss in their roles. The death
of a loved one after a long period of caring leaves the caregiver without
motivation, a sense of place, self confidence, a network of friends and
socialization challenges to actually make the return to our own lives once
again. It is not just the loss of a loved one you
Express yourself through artwork.
Begin your holiday dinner with a minute
of silent prayer and a toast in their honor
Send up a balloon(s) with messages
and prayers to your loved one.
During the meal ask the question, "What
comes to your mind when you think of _________?", and share memories with
those who surround you.
Plant a tree or a special plant in
their honor in your garden or in your home.
Create special Christmas ornaments
for your tree and hang a stocking in their honor.
Write a letter or even keep a journal
of your thoughts.
Light a candle(s) in their memory.
Place a single flower or bouquet of
flowers that your loved one cherished as the centerpiece.
The "Shames" or head candle in the
Hanukah celebration can be in honor of your loved one
Look at pictures (or display pictures)
from past holidays shared with your loved one. View videos, audiotapes
and any remembrances, which reflect on the wonderful times you experienced
Design a quilt with the memories you
Write a brief history of the ups and
downs you have experienced in the past year and place it into a Christmas
stocking or some memorable cache that you can add to yearly.
Play a favorite song
Create a sacred alter with photos and
treasures where you can sit and reflect.
If you vacation in a special area that
you used to go to with your loved one, do something special in honor of
Consider volunteering for an organization
affiliated with your loved one;s illness, hospice or a caregiving program
to help others through your own experiences.
Vounteer to help feed the homeless
over Thanksgiving & Christmas.
Volunteer to read or spend time with
the elderly in nursing homes, hospitals or to read and spend time with
children who have terminal illnesses in hospitals.
Donate gifts in your loved one's name.
This is even more special when you donate in memory at their birthday,
a special anniversary, etc.
Offer a scholarship in a loved one's
experience; it is the loss of many
things that were put on hold.
As you move through your grief,
remember that there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Each person grieves
in his or her own way and in his or her own time. It is a wonderful opportunity
to reach out to support groups and learn how others are healing from their
own personal losses. This gives you additional support and understanding.
It also gives you reason to understand that you will move through your
grief, just as others have. With understanding and healing, you will find
that you may not return to your life as it was before you became a caregiver.
You may find that you have grown in ways you could not have imagined, thus
creating a newer more fulfilling life; perhaps even a new identity based
on the transformational experiences you have gone through in your role
as a Caregiver.
Rmember to be gentle and nurturing
Richest blessings on your journey.
About the Author:
R. Mitchell is the creator of the Empowering
Caregivers Site at http://www.care-givers.com.
She is also the spokeswoman for the Caregivers Area at the Boomer's
International site. She has consulted for other caregiving sites.
She is a featured columnist for FinalThoughts.com and TheCareGuide.com.
Her articles have been published in the National caregiving magazine "Today's
Caregiver" in the United States and in Canada's National caregiving magazine,
"CANGO QRTLY." She also contributes to many other caregiving sites on the
Internet. Recently Ms. Mitchell founded the National
Organization for Empowering Caregivers (NOFEC) www.nofec.org to
help raise the nation's consciousness about family caregiving in hopes
of providing respite, support and education to those in need.
Last updated December 6, 2001
Copyrighted Gail R. Mitchell 11/08/01. Used with
permission of the author.
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