It’s been a month now since my mother crossed over, and there are large stretches of time where I think that I’m OK. Then, I’ll do something stupid like mess up my checkbook, or leave my purse behind as I go off for an appointment that I’ve left just enough time to get there. I find that I’m needing to check and double check myself. Since I live by myself, it’s been hard at night when I it’s dark. So how long is this grieving process supposed to take? At the same time that I’m asking that question, I’d like to add, and where are the role models on how it’s supposed to proceed?
I get that each person will have their own time and way in which to mourn. I was eight years old when my Dad died suddenly of a heart attack, and I remember the first time that I went the whole day without thinking of him. I felt so guilty, as if I had stopped loving him some how. I found that with his death, and with the others in my life who have died, you never “get over them”, but you do reach a point where it doesn’t hurt as much anymore.
In this modern day, there are funerals and grieving support groups built into the societal framework, but my impression is that grieving is not an open thing to talk about. My friends ask me how I’m doing, but I don’t think they really want to hear about the sleepless nights that back onto hours and hours where all I want to do is sleep. I’m starting to get some of my energy back to do things on some days, but then on other days, I just stare at all that I want to do in the yard and all that needs to be unpacked and put in its new home and do nothing.
The above photo is of a Medicine Wheel at the Joshua Retreat center which was used in many Native American traditions. In my shamanic training, one aspect of it with which I was impressed was the fact that while learning took place in the South, and the integration of that learning was done in the West, there was a Wall of Grief that is in the southwest. They recognized as a people that whenever you learned something new, there was a change. Even when that change was something desired, the old way of being needed to be acknowledged. Thus leaving behind the old ways, even when you were learning something new and exciting, was given its due recognition in your life, and its passing was grieved in a ceremony. In my opinion, there are too few ceremonies of rites of passage in our society. This past weekend began my Year of Firsts, as this was the first Mother’s Day without my mother’s physical presence. I, however, had a short ceremony of my own making to acknowledge her and all the things that she had done for me. I’m building an addition on to my gardens in memory of her as the Spring planting progresses. I imagine that I will come up with many memorial remembrances as this next year unfolds.
What are some ways that you’ve used to remember those people and events that are important to you? How have you crafted your own traditions?
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