Personal Practices around Grief + Death

Personal Practices around Grief + Death

Sep 24, 2021

Last week I got word that my maternal grandmother is on her way to passing through the veil. My zen teacher happened to walk by me just as I had received the news. I set my bowl of lunch aside and bowed my head as tears came.

He stopped and stared. I looked up at him, perhaps smiled a little and said, "I'm fine. I just got word that one of my grandmothers is not doing so well. I am okay, just feeling it all." He nodded and said. "That's having a foot in both worlds."

A little later I went on to explain more of the situation. He said, "That's too much thinking, go back to breathing." Or something along those lines. Both times it was exactly what I needed to hear.

I haven't seen this grandmother in over 2 years. There is a lot of pain and sadness that comes with this news. I let myself cry a little there on the bench while I was having lunch and as I finished up I noticed a heavy energy come around me. I made my way back to my cabin, lost myself in Instagram for a moment; a nice short distraction, then I turned to my oracle + tarot cards.

I drew The Hermit followed by a resounding Yes card from an oracle deck Postcards from the Liminal Space. In that moment I knew that I had the answers inside of me. I knew how to support myself. Maybe I didn't consciously know in that moment, but I knew I could trust myself to do what I needed. 

Then it started to rain. An extremely heavy downpour that when I opened my cabin door, my feet got wet. It made me smile, laugh, howl out. I knew in that moment it would make my soul feel most nourished to light the sauna and enjoy the contrast of hot and cool, being held in the elements. Sweat it out, let the rain take it away. I gathered some favorite sauna tools and a few special items to create an altar. As the fire warmed, I fetched tea, cupcakes and water. Then I set the altar, lit incense and a candle for my grandmother.

Inside the sauna I took time for a self ceremony. I kept hearing a resounding message in my head, "There's an ancestor approaching the veil." I called in all of my guides and ancestors in their right and well ways, working for the highest good of all beings across all dimensions of space and time (as I do in every ceremony). 

I felt what needed to be felt. I sobbed and I sang. I greeted my grandmother, envisioned squeezing her hands, felt her warm thick embrace as if I was a child again. I thanked her for her life, for trying her best and doing the best she could with what she was given and what she was taught. I thanked her for her courageousness. I forgave her for her secrets. I said many prayers to help her soul pass through without linger.

When all was said and done, I made my way out to the dock in front of the sauna, naked, holding a hot green tea cup in the rain. Another prayer came to me, 

"With this rain and in all the elements, may I remember you are always with me.
With this rain and in all the elements, may I always feel you near.
With this rain and in all the elements, may you always nourish me."

Something in this moment felt complete, though I know the sadness will linger for a while. That's part of being human.

It is likely I won't see my grandmother before she passes. It's in these sweet rememberings and most certainly through sacred ceremony that we can hold our loved ones dear. May you remember that we are but particles of stardust and energy. Death is simply a redistribution of this. Anything extra we believe is just that, extra. 

I've cultivated that into something super sweet. Perhaps you can too.

If you feel called please light a candle in honor of my grandmother's passing. Grandmother, may you know you are loved, you are cherished. As she would say it, Amen.

👉 Next week I'll be sharing more on my sacred solo ceremonies; as I've realized this is something I never share on...


Questions for conversation:

  • What is your relationship like with death or grief?

  • How does this article land for you?

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