Rituals Help Us Deal with Loss

RitualA number of years ago in the early morning I was walking on the beach and stopped to rest on a bench at the end of one of the short streets leading to the beach. As I sat there drinking in the fresh sea air, an older man arrived in a pickup. He got out, approached the bench and asked me if he could sit down. I welcomed him with a gesture.

After three or four minutes of sitting in silence he got up to leave with the words, “My wife died about a year ago and this was her favorite spot. So every morning about this time I come down to say good morning to her.” He climbed into his pickup and left.

I was impressed with the wisdom of this man…

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The Natural Flow of Life… and Death

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We grow up with the conventional thinking that we will become adults and our parents will grow old and die before we do. Furthermore, our children will grow up to be adults and we will predecease them in old age.

Fortunately for most, the flow of life and death follows that pattern. But for some, the sequence and timing get messed up and it takes an emotional and behavioral toll. Sometimes our parents die prematurely. Sometimes our kids don’t make it to adulthood, or they reach adulthood, but die while we are still in midlife…

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