The Importance of Ceremony

CeremonyWilliam Shakespeare wrote, “Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.” From Macbeth, this line illustrates what we have known for centuries: the grief that is not acknowledged will damage you; possibly physically, psychologically, or spiritually. This is why ceremonies are so very important following the loss of someone important to you. 

Whether it was a parent, spouse, friend, or even a beloved pet, marking the change in your relationship is essential to healing. Please note that the word “change” is used rather than “end”. The love and gratitude we still feel following death means the relationship hasn’t ended, the feelings are still present. Unfortunately, they might be accompanied by negative emotions like guilt and anger, which can complicate grief. Speaking these words, or having these words spoken for you, during a ceremony will begin the healing process. 

Whether you have a funeral, a memorial service, or just raise a glass together with close friends and family, planning an event to speak your feelings about your loss is imperative to healthy grieving.  Even if it is to express anger, it’s okay to say the words out loud.  As Fr. Ronald Knott said, “Anger is just disappointed love.” Sharing your feelings and memories creates a healing environment for everyone. 

September 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of Cedar Memorial offering their families the option of using a certified celebrant to help articulate the many feelings and emotions associated with losing a loved one. For families who consider themselves ‘spiritual’ rather than ‘religious’, the celebrant can create a ceremony that honors your relationship while still bringing authenticity to who that person was during life.  

Giving your sorrow words, whether personally or through the use of a celebrant, isn’t about bringing closure, it’s about beginning the journey of grief with a roadmap toward healing.


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