For our new ritual template I am diving into the world of grief and grief rituals.
How to create spaces where grief can be shared, seen and heard by others?
Where we can change our relationship to the grief we are in by using ritual?
It reminded me of the funeral I did with my son for his pet ( can you call a walking stick insect a pet? I don’t know, but he loved it like one ). It was his first conscious encounter with death and grieving. Now that I am reading more on this topic, I am glad I took the time to di this with him. I wrote about it to inspire other parents and teachers to work with grief. To be active in this and to create rituals for it.
After all, as Francis Weller says it eloquently:
“Grief is not a problem to be solved, but a presence awaiting witnessing”
To witness each other in the proces of grieving makes it a beautiful healing experience.
The funeral: a burial for a walking stick
My sons walking stick insect died. Which is of course not a huge tragedy in the grand scheme of things, but it made him very sad. I decided to take it as a chance to practice dealing with grief. To practise what to do when something (or someone) you love dies. To try to be with these emotions instead of covering them up or bypassing them. Giving shape to grief and to be in relation with it, is an important life skill. If we can be with grief, and explore its depths, we can grow. So, we created a funeral.
This process was made in co-creation with my son. I had the outline in my head and helped him give shape to the steps.
First we shared stories about what we liked about this tiny animal. How funny his legs were. And how we got him a beautiful big glass vase to live in. We had to wait a bit after that. Until my son was ready for the next step. To carry the animal outside and to look for the right place to put it to rest.
We carefully picked a place for a hole in the ground. We covered it with leaves and flowers. We played a song for the the tiny animal. And with tears streaming down his face my son covered the hole with earth.
He wants to have a memorial on the same date next year, and we will play that same song.
After all the ceremony was over, one if his friends came over to play. He shared what he did, took a deep breath and started playing. With a little more dept to him, it seemed.