Grief and Celebration

Emily Thiroux Threatt (author of Loving and Living Your Way Through Grief) gifts us hope with the prospects of celebrating grief.

I was talking to my new friend Stavros this morning. He is Greek and grew up in Greece. He shared his first experience of a celebration after death, and said it was such a positive experience.  Everyone was laughing and talking about the fun they had throughout their lives with the dearly departed. Stavros grew up without fear of death because of this early experience.

This reminded me of Dia de los Muertos, a celebration in Mexico where the belief is that the souls of the deceased loved ones return on November 1 of every year where their families and friends can celebrate their lives. This colorful celebration is filled with food and laughter.

When my husband Jacques died, his celebration was at our theatre.  He had loved to sing and act there. His good friend Mike Huey put together a performance based on the play Our Town and filled with music and loving tributes from friends.

My husband Ron died at our home in Maui. Hawaii.  Our friend Shena put together a gathering where friends and family sang, did spoken word, and shared fond memories. This was put facilitated by Kimokea, an honored Hawaiian Kupuna, who dressed in his cultural grab and only spoke Hawaiian for the ceremony. The we all got into canoes and paddled out into the ocean to scatter Ron’s ashes and the flowers that those attending brought from their yards.

As a child, all the funerals I attended were so sad. Lots of black clothing and tears. I always at in the back, away from the open casket that I didn’t want to look into.  I wanted instead to remember my grandmother’s hugs and my grandfather’s caring for me. I am so relieved that as I have reached this point in my life that those around me have been choosing the lightness and joy of tributes, performances, and love for our celebrations now.

How does your culture celebrate the passing of loved ones?  What memories do you have of the celebrations of life you have attended for your loved ones? I am writing some wishes for my celebration, but honestly, my hope is that those whose love me will celebrate in the way they would most like to remember me. What is your hope?

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Loving and Living yOur Way Through Grief

A Comprehensive Guide to Reclaiming and Cultivating Joy and Carrying on in the Face of Loss

Rediscover sustained moments of joy as you seek a new way of being in the world. Loving and Living Your Way Through Grief guides and lightens the journey to positivity for those who feel the pain of loss, whether it is the loss of a loved one, a job, a marriage, a house, a pregnancy, a nest egg―anyone or anything that we loved and that is no longer in our lives. In this book, author and fellow griever Emily Thiroux Threatt provides you with strategies to embrace the process of learning how to start living again.