“Death is an invitation to start a new relationship with your loved one” Ram Dass
It was not just a bad dream.
Every morning reality bursts the bubble of oblivion you escape into every night when you go to sleep, but when you wake up, the truth is always there – waiting for you.
They are really dead!
I remember the crushing intensity of the anguish every morning for the first months after my mother died. You usually have a small window of time when you are still swimming in the disorientation of the hypnogogic state before reality comes crashing in and shatters fragile peace.
What is worse is that you seem to be the only one experiencing this Prometheus-like reality. Everyone around you has moved on and expects that you should be fine by now.
It might have been years, perhaps even just months, and no one talks about them anymore. Their name has taken on Voldemortish proportions. Family and friends behave as though they didn’t exist. As though they were a drawing that they no longer liked and could just erase.
For you, their absence and the yearning for them permeates every part of your waking life
Morning rituals to ease the ache
How do you face another day in a world where people expect you to behave normally when your world is as far from normal as possible?
When the person who understood you the most and was unconditionally there for you is no longer part of this reality?
According to the Continuing Bond grief theory, you don’t need to give up your relationship with your loved one. You don’t need to move on. They are a part of you and always will be. I have continued my relationship with my mother through mourning rituals that allow me to incorporate her into my life as well as lucid dream visits.
This article is the fourth in a series of morning rituals for grief. In previous articles, I covered morning rituals to help you with the more physical aspects of grief like anxiety, emotional overwhelm, grief brain, exhaustion, and the more psychospiritual aspects like loneliness and alienation.
In this article, I include a morning ritual that honors your loved one’s life and allows you to include them in your day and take them with you because their bodies might be dead, but they are not gone.
They are a part of you. Always.
Morning ritual prep
You can prepare some of the things you will need in advance for this ritual
- Remembrance space: Set aside a space in your room or your house where you can remember your person. You can include things that honor and remind you of them like a candle, a picture, or an object of theirs. For example, I created a remembrance space on the side table next to my bed which a picture of my mama, small candles, crystals, a statue of Mary, a rosary, and other items that belong to her. You can check out this article if you need more inspiration on creating a remembrance space for your person.
- Music Playlist: Create a playlist with your person’s favorite songs that remind you of them. I created this playlist titled “mommy” and each time I listen to it, it feels as though I am spending an afternoon under the June sun with her as we did in the past.
Quick Reminders as you get started
- Try to get up at the same time each morning. The starting times here are for demonstration purposes only
- Spend as much or as little time as you need on the different activities. For example, you might prefer 10 minutes of light stretching instead of an hour-long sweat session.
- Your morning starts the night before. Make sure you get good sleep and plan for the next day.
- In grief, when everything feels out of control, setting a small personal intention for the day can help you feel more in control and support. I have included an intention for your ritual and a mantra for the day specific to this ritual, but feel free to modify it to something that resonates more with you
Ritual flow – You are a part of me
When you love someone enough to miss them, you’ve touched them in true conscious love. We get so attached to our sense and thoughts about a person as object, that we feel desperate when we lose them. We feel we have lost something. When we quiet it down and we realize we have moved to a new level of richness of being together." - Ram Dass
Total Time: 30 – 90 minutes
Ritual Intention: Dear <insert person’s name>, I invite your presence here to commune with me.
7:00 A.M: Take your time waking up and when fully awake, light the candle on your remembrance space and speak out your intention for the ritual
7:10 A.M.: Press play on your playlist and spend a few minutes luxuriating in the music
7:15 A.M.: With the music still playing in the background, instead of just journaling your thoughts, spend 10 – 15 minutes writing a letter to your person making sure to address them directly
- You can tell them about how you are feeling because of their death – the loneliness, the fear of uncertainty about a future without them
- You can tell them how much you love them or miss them
- Tell them about any guilt, regret, anger, or blame you are feeling either towards them or the situation in general
- You can also just tell them about your plans for the day and ask them for their support and guidance
- With time your letter writing can morph from sadness, anger, and everyday life to recounts of your adventures with them during dreamtime!
7:30 A.M.: Once you finish your letter, perform this 10-minute gentle meditation/ visualization inviting them to connect with you
- Take 3-5 deep belly breaths to cleanse your aura and calm your mind. This allows you to enter a receptive space
- In your mind’s eye, visualize them sitting in front of you looking happy and healthy
- Take some time to really look at them and notice everything about them, what they are wearing, facial expressions, and body movements
- When you can see them, visualize a rose-colored light coming out from your heart center and enveloping them in an embrace
- You are both now in this bubble of pink light.
- Reach out to hold their hands and talk to them as if they were really in front of you
- When you feel complete, thank them for their presence and bring them into your heart space and ask them to walk with you through the day.
7:45 A.M.: Spend the next 10-15 minutes doing some light exercise. It could even just be stretching
8:00 A.M.: After taking care of personal hygiene, perhaps you might wear something that belonged to them like an earring, a watch, a t-shirt, or any other memento so that you carry them with you during the day. You might also choose to wear colors that remind you of them.
8:15 A.M.: Make their favorite breakfast or incorporate different aspects or ingredients they loved into your breakfast
8:30 A.M.: As you meal prep or while you are eating, listen to one of the podcasts recommended below where people share their experiences of connecting with their loved ones in dreams or discuss the afterlife
8:45 A.M.: Take a moment to do some deep breathing before stepping out for the day. You can take this poem with you throughout the day to offer comfort and hope throughout the day.
Throughout the day, invite your person to connect with you and show you signs of their presence. If you are ready to learn how to have a dream visit with them, check this article out to learn all about visitation dreams and how to have them.
Mantra for the day: You are a part of me. You will always be a part of me.
Here are some additional resources to help you explore different ways to continue your relationship with your loved one.
- For Grief by John O’Donohue
- The Window by Rumi
- Do not Stand on My Grave and Weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye
- When Great Trees Fall by Maya Angelou
- In Lieu of Flowers by Shawna Lemay
- On the Death of the Beloved by John O’Donohue
- A Grief Concept You Should Care About: Continuing Bonds
- 9 Simple Mourning Rituals for the Modern Griever
- Continuing Bonds: New Understandings of Grief (Death Education, Aging and Health Care) by Dennis Klass and Phyliss R. Silverman
- Grieving in Dreams: Finding Peace After Loosing by Sister by Jenn K. Lee
- Good Mourning Grief Podcast: Is There Life After Death? With Dr Bruce Greyson
- Good Mourning Grief Podcast: The Afterlife with David the Medium
- Good Mourning Grief Podcast: UP CLOSE & GRIEFY: Spiritual signs from the other side
- Good Mourning Grief Podcast: GRIEF TIP TUESDAY: Rituals to keep their memory alive
- Dream Detective Podcast: After Death Visitation Dreams
- Grief Dreams Podcast: E207 - Jenn K. Lee - Grieving in Dreams
Evolving your relationship with your loved one
“Death ends a life, not a relationship. All the love you created is still there. All the memories are still there. You live on- in the hearts of everyone you have touched and nurtured while you were here.” ― Morrie Schwartz
Please remember that your loved one is still a part of the fabric of your being as Ram Dass says. You can evolve your relationship with them and continue your bond – just in a different way. You can begin to learn how to have dream visits and subscribe to the newsletter for more tips on how to reconnect with your person.