The Importance of Mourning

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Some cultures would find a heading about the importance of mourning very strange. In these cultures there would be a series of rituals and processes that would automatically click into place when someone dies and be non-negotiable - 'this is just what happens when someone dies'.

Unfortunately, in countries such as England, death has become a taboo subject and not given the time and focus that it needs to enable those close to the deceased to grieve properly and healthily. Mourning is deeply important: if you fail to give the mourning process space and time, it will invariably come out and demand attention - often in ways you don't expect or welcome. Any sort of denial of deep processes, such as adjusting to a close one dying ,will not just go away, but will emerge - maybe as a health problem, a period of depression or anger and frustration.

Discernment is at the heart of good mourning, being open to what you want to do - what you need to do. It maybe to spend time in a place that was important to your loved one. It may be through formal processes such as scattering the ashes. You may feel that you want to build your own ritual as a way of saying goodbye, or celebrating the life.

One of my colleagues took the ashes of his wife to the places that they had shared together and scattered them there even asking formal permission to do so from the authorities in Morocco where they had spent some happy holidays. Although this is not for everyone, I admired the way that he had been creative about how he could recognise and celebrate his wife's life and relationship and how he tended his own spirit and soul in the process.

So … mourning is important, don't squeeze it into a busy life, give it time and space, be creative and discerning and look after your own soul. It is a respectful and good way to honour the person who has passed on.