So often in our culture, we are expected to be quiet and subdued in our grieving. In many communities nowadays, there are little to no mourning rituals or practices. Even wearing black during a time of mourning has become somewhat outdated! Today we will be looking at demonstrative grieving; how you can reap its benefits and some ideas to get you started.
“Ancient Hebrews commonly wore sackcloth and ashes as a symbol of grief. The uncomfortable sackcloth reminded the individual of the call to grief. Ashes showed the mortality of man.” - Beth Moore Living Proof
Demonstrative grief is the process of taking the grief that is felt inside and finding ways to express that grief externally. Tangible evidence of grief can often grant an added freedom of expression. While it may not take the form of sackcloth and ashes, there are many ways to confront the feelings of grief and face them head on.
“Mourning, when successful, removes one from the stream of life to ponder one's own place in the world and one's relationship with the dead person, and finally to return to that stream having adjusted to living with loss. Mourning entails a spontaneous, sometimes overwhelming process in which the bereaved is preoccupied with thoughts of the dead person, even in dreams. As the mourning process proceeds, the obsession passes, leaving behind it a realistic assessment of life - and death - and the ability to go on.” - Daniel Goleman, New York Times
1. Connect with art
Check out this sculpture that perfectly captures the weight of grief. If you’re an artist, be inspired by this and use your creativity as a way to express your grief. Showcase the art in your home. If you’re not an artist, go out into nature and come up with your own rocks to physically show the weight of your grief. Keep a stone on your bookshelf or in your pocket. Whatever way you choose, the art or the stone will be a reminder for a time, of your need to face your grief head on, so you can eventually move forward.
2. Wear All Black
On days when you’re having a particularly hard time, wear all black. From your underwear to your jacket, sometimes it feels a tiny bit better to wear your feelings. Not everyone may notice or care, but you can know that this is one simple expression of your grief for your loved one.
3. Smash Something
Whether it’s going to the gym to hit a punching bag or taking an old wooden bat out to the woods to let some steam off, give yourself a physical way to vent. If you don’t have time to find a gym or a grove of trees, try punching your pillow, screaming as loud as you can in your car, or smashing an old plate into your outside garbage can. Of course, be careful that you aren’t doing anything reckless to release your grief. You don’t want to injure yourself while expressing your mourning!
Everyone grieves differently and your process may not look like anyone else’s. Take solace in knowing that the love you have for your departed one is never truly lost. What way have you expressed your grief that has benefited you the most? Make sure to share your thoughts below!