Personal Mourning Rituals - Gravesite Visits
We remember with open hearts
Your person's grave can be a place that feels sacred to you and offers you a sense of peace and comfort.
It can be a place where contemplation, prayer, reflection, and speaking to your person seem natural, especially during milestone dates like anniversaries, birthdays, and entering a new year
Visiting your loved one’s grave is probably the first thing that might come to mind when it comes to personal mourning rituals and there is a reason behind it. There is probably nowhere else in the world where you will feel more connected to your person than where their mortal remains lie, and for some, this is a profound spiritual process.
At the gravesite, you can breathe in the crisp air, hear the silence of nature, and feel all the hopes and dreams fulfilled and unfulfilled that surround you. Over time, you can turn your visits into a ritual enactment that can suffuse your visits with a deeper sense of connection and healing.
Here are a few ideas to help you ritualize your visits to the cemetery.
- Logistics: To begin, decide if there are specific days or times when you would like to visit your person. You can make this a weekly ritual, or you can visit whenever the mood strikes you. Nothing has to be formal about the process
- What To Bring: Decide if you want to bring specific things to the grave. Perhaps you can bring flowers, or mementos on special days, or depending on your religious or cultural beliefs, you could bring food
- What To Do: Being at the grave of your person provides space and opportunity for you to really connect and talk with them. Here are some ideas
You can also bring a journal or notebook and experiment with connecting with them by asking them questions or just talking and using automatic writing to write down whatever comes to you as though your person was answering your questions
Some days you might choose to sit quietly and listen deeply. On other days, you might be in a chatty mood and decide to tell them about all things that are going on in your life, share your plans for the future, and reflect on the past
You can also decide to have a picnic with them where you share a meal and as you would do in my culture, pour some libation into the earth for your person.
Make your visit yours. There really is no special way to do this. Use some of the ideas suggested above if they resonate with you. What is important is that you set aside this time and be intentional about any of the things you do.
- Sacred Space: When you visit, bring items that make the grave feel sacred and that you are comfortable leaving at the gravesite. You could bring flowers, a picture of them, a grave blanket, a wreath, a poinsettia, or another meaningful item. You can also light a candle while you are there
- Intention: Say out loud your intention which can be something like “I intend to spend time connecting with my person”
- Invocation: Invoke energies to support you. At this time, you can also call upon those who came before you in your family field (ancestors)
- Ritual Flow: Take this time to perform any of the activities that you had chosen during the prep stage. Remember that it is your time with your loved one so make it yours.
- Express and Release: As you sit in this space with them, allow yourself to be fully open to the moment and express what is alive inside you. Remember that some days might be quite joyful, while other times, you might be a puddle of tears. Just think of this as the time you spend with your person
- Close Ritual: When you feel complete, you can close the ritual by giving gratitude to your loved one for their life and to any transpersonal energies that showed up to support you. You can also close the ritual by packing up any items you brought with you and saying your goodbyes
- Reflect and Root: Before you leave, take a few minutes to reflect on the visit with the following prompts
How are you feeling now after the visit?
How is it different from what you felt when you arrived?
Write down one word to describe the experience
What are your key takeaways from the experience?
May your time with your person at their grave be filled with connection, love, and insights.