question for pagans about death rituals - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 02-12-2003, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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my heart is so heavy, i feel like i'm going to turn wrong side out.

my best friend died sunday in a car wreck. her funeral is this friday. it is going to be such a freak show. her family treated her like crap when she was alive and now they're all sad that she is gone. i'm only going to the funeral because i love her, not for any of those other people.

my question is this, has anyone here done a solitary ritual to wish someone goodbye? i'm at a loss for ideas, i think i'm still reeling from the whole thing. i want to do something, maybe for my own peace of mind. but just between her and i, nobody else. if anyone has any thoughts on this i would love to hear them. thanks.
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#2 of 6 Old 02-12-2003, 01:21 PM
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I am so sorry about your friend I hope peace finds you...
When DH died, I had to do more than the *prescribed* rituals to say goodbye to him... (sorry not much *Pagan* nor *solitary* specifically, but some ideas nonetheless inky) We attached messages to helium balloons and set them free (in fact, we do this for any balloon worthy occaision). I wanted to have DH's ashes at home with me, but they're in the cupboard at the Mission near his Mother's home, so instead I use a great picture a friend made for me (are you creative? make a piece of art as a memorial in your home), a picture I took on our honeymoon ~ held the camera up in front of us ~ it's a pic of his forehead and eyes and you can see my face on the side kissing him, Christine placed my memorial tatoo on his forehead and printed "See Ya Later" across the bottom of the pic... I love it, I light candles in front of it when I need to commune with his spirit. Ask for guidance, you will find the sign you need ~ if it's a ceramic angel at a yardsale or a special rock you find on a walk thru the park ~ use that to mourn/meditate/commune. We also preserved flowers from his funeral ~ I have one boquet under bubble glass ~ it was an expensive treat, but I'm really glad I did it (4 carnations representing the family we *were* and 3 roses representing the family we *are*)
I just picked up my *Earth Mother Magic* book, here are some ideas:
Happy Trails Travel Charm Roll and stitch together a small piece of red flannel cloth so it looks like a finger; stuff with earth, coal powder and a small piece of silver; sew closed. This charm is reputed to keep it's owner from getting lost, whether on the road or on a spiritual journey (Thought you could slip this into the casket?)
Private grief/memorial garden: these trees, flowers, herbs provide psychic comfort and also encourage you to express your grief in a healing constructive manner: Lavendar, Pomegranate, Poppies, Rosemary, Sage, Willow and Yew trees.
Animal Allies: Butterfly, Dog, Raven/Crow, Snake, and Wolf are ready to serve as guides and partners on your spiritual journey
Spice necklace to relieve grief: Cloves, juniper berries, strong red thread and a sewing needle; soak spices overnight to soften; puncture with a strong needle and string the pieces onto the thread; You may find the beading motion to be sooting in itself or you may wish to concentrate upon your goals, desires or the expression of your grief as you puncture and string each spice bead; When the necklace is sufficiently long, knot it and hang it to dry; in order for this to be effective, you must give the aroma the opportunity to perform it's magic ~ hang it near your bed at night or wear it so that the fragrance can reach you. (I'm makin me one of these!!)
I hope these ideas help, if not in themselves, to spark your healing. Let me know if there's anything more I can do

~diana google me: hahamommy. Unschooling Supermama to Hayden :Super Cool Girlfriend to Scotty . Former wife to Mitch & former mama to Hannahbear
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#3 of 6 Old 02-13-2003, 02:02 AM
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When my Grandmother died last October, i had to go to innumerable Lutheran viewings and Lord's Prayer recitals and finally the funeral. Not healthy for me, oppresive. I had time, the day before the funeral, to take a walk on the boardwalk with my sister and 2 teen dds. It just felt like my own little way of saying goodbye, out in the fresh air, near the ocean which is a part of the life of a long islander. (you may prefer the forest, or a special place you used to go with your friend) We didn't do anything special, but it was stress reducing, and felt healthy. Since this is for your close friend, you could say goodbye in a more formal personal way, ask for a spirit guide to let you find a token, perhaps it will be a rock, a shell, a feather.

Can you get one of her personal belongings? I got a lovely charm bracelet Grandma used to wear that I loved as a child.

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#4 of 6 Old 02-13-2003, 06:14 PM
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When a friend of mine died and I couldn't go to the funeral(though I had gone to visitation), I sat in a good meditation spot in our backyard and did my own circle and remembrance of her. I spoke to her and told her how I missed her and other things I'd have said to her in life had we had the chance. I felt her presence at one point, then opened my circle to let her go, and felt her leave.

When at the funeral home, speak to her in your heart. She'll hear.

"What will you do once you know?"
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#5 of 6 Old 02-15-2003, 08:00 PM
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I can only imagine how difficult this must be for you. I'm so sorry. Please come back here and post as much as you need to, to have someplace to share your feelings. I'm sure I'm not alone in suggesting this, and in offering support as best we can.

For now, I have a few thoughts to share:

When I was a little girl, my mama taught me that it was important to touch the person in the casket. She said it would help me not have bad dreams about them. It's a hard thing to do, but what I've found is that the touch reminds you (in a way that nothing else can) that what's in the casket is NOT the person you love: what's in the casket is just the shell, the pretty container for the spirit who you loved.

The other thing is something I did at my cousin K's visitation last year. We were both close to our grandmother, who died several years ago. And K was very depressed: in fact, he'd committed suicide. Before I went to the visitation, I opened an old cabinet I have of my grandmother's, and inside I found a needle and some thread that she'd kept, wrapped around a little piece of scrap red fabric. (It was one of those Depression Era things, keeping wee bits of anything that might be useful, later.) Anyway, I grabbed that, kept it in my pocket and touched it from time to time through the day, thinking of her, knowing she'd welcome him and love on him and help him any way she could. And when I got to the visitation and had a moment to have a little private time, I tucked that needle and thread inside his jacket, over his heart. I told him that Gransie would mend his broken heart, and that I still loved him.

My suggestion to you, if you haven't already grokked it, is to offer that "pretty shell" a love token to take along, a reminder from you of your connection and love for her. Something symbolic would be great, but anything at all would be welcomed. A friend of mine put an apple in his father's casket before they closed it, for something to eat on his journey.

I know that my cousin didn't follow the Catholic upbringing we both had any more than I did/do, and that the funeral mass and all that was really for his family. Remembering the visitation and funeral for my mom, who also died several years ago, I know that's true: I cannot tell you how powerful it is to see how someone you loved was appreciated by others.

May I suggest that, as her best friend, you create a little psychic and physical space for yourself at the visitation, so that other friends who may come, may offer YOU their condolences just as they would offer them to her family? It's not the same as losing a spouse, but it sure is important, still, and the friends you have in common are more likely to understand that than anyone. And if her family thinks this is too way-out or impudent of you, just separate yourself from them, but still stand vigil if you can, honoring your friend. If they really give you too much grief (and it's possible: people do really wierd outragous things in their grief), then keep your dignity and stand vigil someplace away from the visitation. Remember: that's just the pretty shell, anyway. The really important thing is honoring the spirit.

Good luck to you. Sending white light to you through this.

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#6 of 6 Old 02-17-2003, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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thank you so much for your replies, it really helped me focus and get some direction as far as what i'm going to do for her. i appreciate the time you all took to answer, i know sometimes it brings up old feelings to talk about something like this so thank you for sharing with me. i think i'll plan a send off for next weekend. i want for it to be really special and i just can't have the kids with me.

the funeral was just awful. not at all what she would have wanted. i couldn't get out of there fast enough so there really wasn't time for me to bid her farewell there. and it just didn't feel right either. her family is, by far, the most dysfunctional that i know. some are the kind of people who give me the willies to the point that i can't talk to them, they just make me want to run away. my gut feeling has never been wrong about people. it's so weird, it's like everything good in that family died with her.

as soon as it was over my sister and i went out of town for the weekend. she lost her best friend almost 3 years ago so it was wonderful, but sad, to have someone to talk to about it who really understood and who also knew my friend.

i'm really at peace with it all now. i'm a firm believer in karma, an after life and that everything happens for a reason. i feel like i understand this enough that i'm ok with it all. my grief is selfish, it's for me, not necessarily for her. over the last few years i have lost several people close to me and i have come to understand death in a way that some people think is odd. i can accept it but sometimes that doesn't make the initial shock and loss any easier.

of course i came back to a war zone. ds got sick and was running a 103 temp, things are a mess and the little monkeys are out of control from spending the weekend with very permissive grandparents and dad. nothing like a dose of reality to ground me. :

thank you again for your suggestions and comfort, you made me feel as though you were holding my hand through this and sometimes that's all a person needs.
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