est. July 2009

Lisa Krause's Artwork (2003-Present)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Holiday Grief Ritual

I don't usually post personal stories on this blog because I reserve it for artwork that I have done or important projects with which I've taken part.  But, that being said- I would like to share a meaningful ritual that I experienced this past winter season.

The ritual we experienced was a candle lighting ceremony that took place at the house of close family friends with whom Mom, Eamon and I chose to spend the holiday instead of our family.  In their dining room was an assortment of five large, white winter candles that spanned the length of the table.  After the meal was ready, and before we sat to eat- the grandmother of the family introduced the ritual.  It involved reading a passage and while lighting each candle- representing stages of grief and remembrance for loved ones that have died.  It was particularly powerful this year because Eamon and I experienced the sudden death of an important person in our lives- and also for my Mom, because she always misses her parents particularly in December, but also because there have been some issues in our extended family that have been really awful to deal with this year.  The ritual reminded us of the importance of the season in reflecting on those people that truly matter to us and keeping their memories close in our mind.

We have all been looking for different ways to celebrate the seasons, and this one seems to be appropriate for the season of death and rebirth. One way or another, we will be incorporating into our own non-religious observance from now on.  In the future, I look forward to working with my Mom on creating a fresh pine centerpiece for the ritual because of how much she enjoys arranging flowers with cut pine in winter.  She arranges flowers professionally, so I'm sure it will be beautiful.  This new tradition will be a meaningful addition to the way she already decorates each year with so many greens, pinecones, and candles- as well as an homage to the winter decorations she made in the past from the forest where I grew up.  She also had gone to the forest to make decorations from the pine cuttings for both of my grandparents graves for their December birthdays before she moved.

This ritual emphasized how coming years will be better for those of us who choose to be together.  Especially because we won't be wasting the time we have left with those we love on people that aren't good for us.

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The ritual verse was based on the original work below:

Holiday Memorial
By Sherry L. Willliams

For this ceremony, place five candles around a simple wreath, which you may wish to place on a table or fireplace mantel. As you light each candle this year, you may create a new ritual which will become a lasting tradition. We hope this memorial will help you honor your loved one.

As we light these five candles in honor of you, we light one for our grief, one for our courage, one for our memories, one for our love, and one for our hope.

This candle represents our grief. The pain of losing you is intense. It reminds us of the depth of our love for you.

This candle represents our courage - to confront our sorrow, to comfort each other, and to change our lives.

This candle is in your memory - the times we laughed, the times we cried, the times we were angry with each other, the silly things you did, and the caring and joy you gave us.

This candle is the light of love. As we enter this holiday season, day by day we cherish the special place in our hearts that will always be reserved for you. We thank you for the gift your living brought to each of us.

And this candle is the light of hope. It reminds us of love and memories of you that are ours forever. May the glow of the flame be our source of hopefulness now and forever. We love you.

© Copyright 2002 by Sherry L. Williams. All rights reserved. This memorial is from Holiday Help: A Guide for Holidays and Special Days by Sherry Williams. Used with permission and gratitude. Sherry now offers a DVD entitled: Holiday Help Memorial Program.
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On that same trip-
After waking up at Brittany's house in Chicago to a beautiful light snowfall, we found this little friend on a window ledge of a store.

The Artist with his work, ...the proudest security guard in Chicago.

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