The Different Levels of the Grieving Process on Memorial Day

Dead tree used to symbolize the grieving processNancy Smeltzer, MFA

Today is Memorial Day here in the United States. It’s a day to honor those who have fallen in combat, but unfortunately for many, it has become a long holiday weekend, or signifies the start of summer and the opening of neighborhood pools. For others, it will be a day of grieving, remembering, and/or honoring those who have fallen while fighting.

Many people have heard of the work of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and her five stages of grief. Her book, On Death and Dying, that was published in 1969, became a handbook to help people understand that there were distinct natural stages in the grieving process. Those phases have often been misunderstood, as they weren’t meant to categorize grieving into distinct, quantifiable levels, but rather to suggest some of the process that people go through as they vacillate back and forth before final acceptance of the loss is reached.

Recently however, I read another take on Memorial Day in a blog posting by Dr.Tracy Latz. While this blog is dedicated to her brother who was a veteran, and has a lot of good information on the history of Memorial Day, I think that this blog has some terrific ideas on the levels of grieving. First, she talks of actual grieving, when the loss is new, fresh, and raw. Then, she moves on to talk about the next stage, remembrance, when the “good times” come into your mind. This is where all of the fond connections with that person come into play. Finally, there is the honoring part, where she feels that you “pay respect to their highest good.” That for me is where some sort of ceremony comes into play.

The official national honoring ceremony today for those veterans that have died will take place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier when President Obama will lay a wreath there to honor all who have died for this country. Rolling Thunder, a very large group of thousands of mostly vets on motorcycles, will ride around various parts of Washington, DC. Their various charity events throughout the year help wounded veterans and their families when they return, and other activities to help those who have been in combat or who are Missing in Action (MIAs).

Having grown up during the Vietnam era, I know how alienated so many of them felt when they were asked to serve, yet were ignored by their country when they returned. I embrace Dr. Latz’s take on Memorial Day being a day of unity to honor those who have served, no matter your take on this country’s political policies. This day is to honor those who fell, and their families who are experiencing their loss. not a day to divide us as a nation. There are plenty of other days for doing that and .

What does Memorial Day mean to you? One way that has been suggested that you can join in to honor those who have died is to be silent for a minute at 3pm, in your time zone. How would you choose to honor those who have served?

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You can find out more about my healing work in the other information on this site, about my artwork on my web site at (be patient as it loads; it’s worth it), and can find me on Google + , Facebook (for Transition Portals), Facebook (for Fiber Fantasies),  and Twitter.

About Nancy Smeltzer

I'm passionate about long distance spiritual and alternative healing, having had a successful practice now for over ten years. My clients work with me over the phone and on Skype from all over the USA and Canada, as well as Switzerland, Russia, and Australia. I specialize in helping people heal their negative repeating patterns of behavior and remove the stuck energy in their unconscious minds. By doing that, they can quit going round and round in circles,. repeating the same mistakes, and move forward to having the life of their dreams. Besides my holistic healing practice, I've also been professionally creating art quilts and other fiber arts for over 30 years. My specialty is contemporary beaded art quilts. On my web site, I bill myself as the "Self Proclaimed Button and Bead Queen of Maryland (USA)." My recent works have images that are based on what I see when I tap into a person's energy field and are called Meditation Gardens. These visionary art pieces are the perfect place for that person to play and meditate. In my spare time, I'm a rabid, avid "dirty nails" gardener, composing scenes with plants. Sometimes, I come inside so dirty that my clothes have to go straight into the washing machine; they're too dirty for the dirty clothes hamper! -The Official Google + site for Nancy Smeltzer
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