We walked from the funeral home to the church, and that’s when the tears finally started to fall. “I knew they would come at some point,” I said to my mom and my husband. I felt like we were leading a parade which felt strange, but the walk outside was nice. Fresh air always comforts me.
After the funeral mass (not one of my rituals, but one that was no doubt sacred for my grandmother), we traveled to the cemetery. My grandfather was buried here too and it is one of the most beautiful and peaceful cemeteries I’ve been to. Nestled in the mountains, the stone markers are flat and you feel like you’re in a park. The tent was set up and we made our way to the open grave.
Here comes the part where my mother introduced a tradition that she has come to hold sacred to her family, many of whom had never known of it or experienced it before this day.
I’m paraphrasing her beautiful words, but it went something like this…
“We’re going to borrow from a Jewish tradition and cover mom with earth, in a blanket of love. This is seen as one of the highest gifts that you can give to a person because it cannot be repaid. In truth, I think mom prepaid us in so many ways. If you would like to stay and help us with this, know that it will take some time for them to take the tent down, bring the earth over and be ready for us to begin.”
And, in what felt like magic, almost everyone stayed to help. We waited amidst a sea of gnats, swatting them away, taking walks, finding the graves of other relatives who will always be missed and loved, having healing conversations, and then we gathered again.
We covered my grandmother in a blanket of love, all of us taking turns with the shovels, watching the casket disappearing into the earth, and then I heard my mom’s family members come up to her and share their reactions.
“Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity.”
“I had seen this before but never participated, thank you.”
I remember when my paternal grandmother died. I was 14 and heartbroken and could not pick the shovel up, even though a cousin of mine told me it would be healing. I could not take on that ritual at the time, but I have since been guided back to it, and found much healing and comfort in it.
Sharing our sacred rituals can be scary. It is an act of vulnerability. But what a gift when we share something new that changes how someone sees and experiences the world.
There are rituals around birth and death, but there are rituals that fall between, during day-to-day life, and those have been the ones that I’ve found to be most sacred because they are daily touchstones to help ground, center, and bring me into the present moment.
My heart is full when I think of what Sacred Ritual Everyday has become, sharing of not only some of my favorite rituals, but a look into what sacred ritual means to some incredible women who I am excited to share with you.
If you are curious about expanding your definition of sacred ritual into something that feels authentically you, Sacred Ritual Everyday may be calling you in….
Peace, Love, and Wellness,