It seems appropriate to discuss this since we have just come out of an intense phase of a global pandemic. During the pandemic large gatherings have been set aside, or mandated out of existence, for the purpose of not spreading the disease that has plagued the planet. I am not one for mandates, but I do acknowledge what the intent was and that it was likely necessary for a time. How long a time that is is something that is debatable. Nonetheless, there were weddings that were put off and funerals that have yet to happen as a result of a variety of deaths, not just pandemic related.
Many people chose to do online weddings, which is wonderful as it did allow many participants to attend from the comfort of their own homes. No, it is not the same as having a room full of 600+ of your nearest and dearest friends and relatives. But that is something that has been hyped up for centuries and, in my humble opinion, needs to stop anyway. It is not realistic or cost effective, to mention just two things that I have as a personal problem with that idea.
But how do you say goodbye to someone who has died when you are unable to have a funeral? A friend of mine orchestrated an online Zoom memorial service for her father last year. I was able to see part of it and it was beautifully done. So that is one way. There are other ways as well.
I recently had a dear friend pass away and I decided that I would hold my own ritual in honor of him. So I went to my altar and lit my candles and incense and centered myself. I cast my circle (meaning that I defined sacred space) and then lit a candle in his honor. As I gazed at the candle I felt the flame connect with his spirit and then, much like having a sit down coffee date, I began to speak with him. I took my time and I told him what he meant to me and how honored I was that he allowed me into his life. I told him the many things that I appreciated about him and that I was going to definitely miss him in this realm. I also mentioned that when next we see each other, perhaps (hopefully) we will have more time to spend with one another. I then wished him well on his journey and released the circle, but I left the candle burning in his honor until it burned out. I always do things like that safely, so please don’t get careless with something like that and end up burning down your house!
Something that I have often done as well when someone passes away is, from the date of their death forward to 1 year after that date, I drape their photo with a black veil. This signifies an honoring of the after-death process that they are walking through and prevents their spirit from getting earth bound due to my grief. In other words, it provides an opportunity for both the living and the dead to get on with the business at hand when it comes to dealing with said death. It is amazing how fast a year can fly by. And so at the end of that year, having learned to live without that person in my life, I lift the veil. This signals to spirit that we are now open to communication, if communication is appropriate. Sometimes it is and sometimes it is not. There need be no expectations on that front. I always consider it a gift when someone precious to me communicates from the other side. But I won’t ever demand it. They have things to do over there and I do not want to inconvenience them or interrupt that process with my ego demands.
Another thing that I have done now and then is plant a tree in their honor. This serves as a reminder that life goes on, no matter what, and that as the tree grows, so does their soul evolve. I love trees like crazy, so this seemed to be quite fitting. In fact, when I die, I would like my ashes to be buried beneath a tree. That way they can provide nutrients for the tree right from the get-go. And as the tree grows and reaches for the sun, and develops deep roots into the earth, I will be a part of that magnificent journey.
So there are a few ideas for you, should you find yourself in that type of situation. Crossing rituals can be quite simple and lovely and need not have a bunch of pomp and ceremony involved. They can simply be a return to Nature and the beginning of a new phase of life.