Unless you’ve been living under a rock, word has undoubtedly reached your eyes and ears that an innovator has passed on. He was known around the world, brought many changes to the way we live – whether you liked him as a person/businessman or not. His age points to the fact that he left too soon. There have been loudly declared adorations, softly muttered damnations, memorials large and small and analysis of what could have been.
Perhaps because what happens after death is not known, people search for meaning in loss, and try to make sense of what they feel about death. How we respond to loss is as varied as the people on this planet. There’s been a song playing in my own mind today, one that was written for the singer’s girlfriend as she lost her father too soon to cancer. If you want to hear the song and see the video, go ahead and check it out.
Maybe because I’ve been bracing myself for news of a family member who is facing the end of life after many years, but I’m in awe of the rituals of grieving. I like the idea that, in your own way, you slow down enough to acknowledge what a person meant to you and remember their impact in your life. Perhaps it’s only a fleeting thought as you shower in the morning, or it plays out over an hour-long church service. Depending on the person and your relationship it’s either a fond farewell or the opportunity to close a chapter and exorcise a few emotional demons.
But do not shortchange your grief. A few years ago, we experienced a loss in our household that affected my husband and I in different ways – not that one was right or better at grieving, but it was an eye-opening moment for me to realize that we mourn at very different paces, and needed to respect each others’ way of mourning both in their similarities and their differences. This is one of life’s rituals where there really is no rule book that everyone must follow. There may be customs observed, but we each have our own ritual to follow. The trick is opening our hearts and minds to understanding what our individual rituals are.