Different Faiths, Same Pain
Grief is a common and emotional reaction to losing someone special and close. They may be a family member, a friend, or an associate. Grief also occurs after a serious incident like sickness, trauma, a divorce, and a serious loss takes place in life.
Many religious and faith leaders may suggest that death rites and cultures develop over a period of time. These rites are to honour the deceased and to provide comfort to the family members. It also plays a part in calming down the mourners. Every religion and culture has its own death rites and rituals. Certain rituals are unique to one faith or religion. Whereas, many rituals may be common in many faiths. It is a reminder to all, that there is a universal path to healing.
Tragedy of Grief
Grief is something that none of us imagine until we reach it. Many people believe that if there is sudden death, that we go in shock. Normally we do not expect this shock to obliterate our body and mind.
A person can not know when they lose their loved ones. Passing away of a person you love may leave a void in life. There is a constant absence of the loved one that follows. These moments are uncompromising and become confronting and confusing at times. Grieving for the loss of a loved one is an irreversible tragedy.
Certain people who are grief-stricken may remain in depression for some time. However, most may move on in life. There will be people who may settle in their lives with the same routines. Others may develop new ‘living ethics’. They become resilient and may no longer be held hostage by emotional chaos. The most provocative learning is that more than 50 percent of mourners do not show any grief symptoms after a month of their loss. Some people may overcome the grief within a few days.
Journal of Experimental Psychology researched many mourners who were emotionally much stronger than others in overcoming their grief quickly. They found it interesting that one thing was common. Researchers found that following the loss, the mourners performed what they refer to as ‘rituals’ in the study. However, they were not their typical rituals.
Most people may think of mourning rituals as to the public display of bereavement such as funerals, wearing black for a few months, or religious customs like ‘sitting shiva’ in Judaism. The object of these rituals may vary; however, Catholic Latinos see crying as a sign of respect at funerals. Tibetan Buddhists see it as a disruption. Certainly, public mourning rituals occur in all religions and cultures in some form.
The researchers requested 76 participants of their first study to write about the symbolic loss they had experienced. Whether it was at the end of the relationship or the death of a loved one. Furthermore, they were asked to explain how they coped with the loss. Moreover to describe if any rituals they would have followed. The researchers were surprised by the results. Many reported that the rituals they practiced were not the public ones. The rituals they practice were the private ones. About 15 percent of the participants described that rituals had a social element. It further records that 5 percent were religious rituals. Moreover, most of the rituals that were performed were personal and mostly performed alone in privacy.
The study states a person following a breakup, performed this ritual – he returned to the breakup location every month on the anniversary date to help him cope with the loss.
Another example is that a person collected all of the pictures they took as a couple during their relationship and destroyed them into small pieces. This included the pictures the person loved. Later they burnt the pictures.