Rituals of Remembrance 2

“Rituals are cairns marking the path behind us and ahead of us. Without them we lose our way.”  Robert Fulghum

How do we keep a seat at the banquet table of our lives for those no longer living? What rituals connect us to the great cycle of life and death? How do we kindle the sparks of remembrance in an amnesiac culture? This ongoing series offers stories from the archive of my Celebrancy blog, “cairns marking the path behind us” and the way ahead. This month: Mothers Day & Memorial Day…

8499331Motherless Mothers Day ~ When her beloved mother Phyllis T. Zeff died on Christmas Eve of 1994 after a 15-month battle with cervical cancer, Shae Uisna was “nearly destroyed. If I could have willed myself to stop existing,” Shae recalls, “I would have.” Now Shae offers comfort and community to other women who are similarly bereaved through her annual Motherless Mother’s Day Celebration. Read more…

All in the Family ~ When my father died, my step-mother sent away for his veteran’s flag. His three years in the Air Force hadn’t been a primary theme in his life; he hadn’t seen combat. But she thought I should have it. I displayed it, still folded in its tight, crisp triangle, when I created a memorial service for him six months after his death. And then it went into the basement. I’m afraid it didn’t fare well there, between the soot from the old furnace chimney we demolished and the the misbehavior of our two cats. I felt ashamed of my neglect. While I never planned to fly the flag, I knew it deserved better. What does one do with family keepsakes and heirlooms when one doesn’t have children? Read more…

Memorial Day All Year Round ~ These days, with so many of our dead cremated, the cemetery is no longer the only focal point of remembrance. Memorial Day weekend is still the high point of any cemetery’s annual visitation count, but more and more of us are finding other ways to remember our beloved dead – ways of staying connected that take place all year round. Read more…

 

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