“Our loved ones are in us and we are in them. When a loved one dies, a part of us also dies.” p.2
“We are in the habit of identifying ourselves with our bodies. The idea that we are this body is deeply entrenched in us. But your loved one is not just their body; they are much more than that …. The idea that “This body is me and I am this body” is a belief we must let go of. If we do not, we will suffer a great deal. We are life, and life is far vaster than this body, this concept, this mind …. We are not limited to our physical body, even when we are alive. We inter-are with our ancestors, our descendants, and the whole of the cosmos. We do not have a separate self; we are interconnected with all of life, and we, and everything, are always in transformation.” p.100-101
I miss Lexie.
I’m grateful for the reminders Thich Nhat Hanh offers us.
Memorial site for a traffic accident on a country road
Remembering a loved one doesn’t necessarily need to end at the memorial service or the death site. Both of these actions are appropriate responses yet more may be desired to keep the loved one’s memory closer to home, closer to you on a daily basis.
Have a memorial release with balloons or butterflies
Listen to their favorite songs or watch their favorite movies
Look through old photos with friends and family
Plant a tree, shrub, or flowers and visit it
Create a memorial website or Facebook page
Donate to their favorite charity
Eat or cook their favorite food
Write them a letter, poem or song.
The second writing is a section from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book How To Live When A Loved One Dies (c) 2020, Parallax Press called Making An Altar For Your Loved One:
“When we have lost someone we love, we often feel the need to express our deep love and gratitude to them…and we want to keep their memory alive…Making a shrine or altar is a concrete way of expressing our love and care, and of helping us feel connected to them. We can set up a small table and place a photograph of our loved one, a candle, some flowers, and other meaningful things on it.” p.133 http://www.parallax.org/product/how-to-live-when-a-loved-one-dies/
Check out both sources for more information.
In the meantime, here is today’s brief poem: Remembering A Deceased Loved One
“Attachment theory is a very popular concept among psychologists and has been for a few decades now. It states that humans – in fact, all mammals – have an innate drive to seek out close emotional relationships with other people, who can become our ‘attachment figures’. Humans seem to have developed a particularly flexible attachment system. By this, I mean that we can become emotionally attached to a wide number of other people, from relatives to friends to romantic partners. Even non-humans can be our attachment figures – think about the bond you might have with a beloved pet, for example. Even inanimate objects can be attachment figures – the notion of a child and their teddy is a common attachment bond in many Western countries.” Maddie Bleasdale, aka The Awkward Archaeologist (see link above).
A recent Animal Chaplaincy class discussed how a loved pet (aka companion animal) can be a traumatic event for someone, especially when that loved one was a “primary attachment figure.” The guest speaker, Janel Griffieth, a Senior Director for CARE (Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity (https://careawo.org/about-us/) gave a powerful presentation about her personal experiences and why knowing more about trauma, resiliency, hope and the Attachment Theory can help animal chaplains be more empathetic when humans are emotionally devastated by the loss of their trusted non-human companion.