|Welcome to Arq's crowdsourced kit of personal stories and resources for mourners, supporters, and people grappling with their own mortality. |
Want to learn more? Read Arq's multi-part guide to loss & mourning: https://thisisarq.com/read-type/field-guides. It's rooted in, but not exclusive to, Jewish wisdom and ritual.
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Please respect and honor the contributions of everyone who has shared their personal stories and tips here. Do not edit or delete someone else's entries. Everyone's experience of loss is different - listen, learn, and love, don't judge or correct. Thank you for helping to deepen the meaning of this life-changing transition and process.
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|An exercise for grief, or really any emotion. CREATE, make art, let it move through you.||https://www.citylab.com/life/2017/01/otsuchi-wind-phone-japanese-mourners/512681/||art|
|Chelsea Winter Nolen||One thing that has helped a lot of people in my family has been learning about Judaism--full stop. My grandfather converted 30+ years ago and took it seriously. Completely incidentally my mother converted 10 years ago--nothing ot do with her father-in-law (my grandfather). He converted after his first marriage, so his children (including my dad) from that marriage were not raised Jewish whereas his children from his second marriage were. This means most of my family is unfamiliar with Judaism, the beliefs, the rituals etc. My mother, the convenient expert and not in immediate mourning (and mature enough to act as a guide. His children from his second marriage are all millennials and his wife is Southern American Christian--one of the few in my family. Everyone else is Quaker or agnostic), has been teaching my family about Jewish beliefs on death and life and helping for instance my aunt (youngest son from 1st marriage's wife) to participate in mourning rituals. This collective learning about something that was so important to my grandfather yet unfamiliar to almost everybody except for my interloper mother has brought a lot of people in my family together, and helped to begin to heal relationships that had been damaged over the years. |
The uniting of the non-religious, the christian, and the atheist people in my family around my grandfather's faith and the collective learning about Judaism has been healing and helpful in the grieving process.
A few days after he died when I was still distraught, my mother talked to me for awhile about what he believed. She explained to me different Jewish philosophies on death and on life. It helped. It was the most my mother has ever talked to me about religion. But it helped me to understand what he believed. I couldn't attend the funeral being thousand of miles away and having an immigration issue. My mother explained to me all the different mourning rituals and that I didn't have to grieve him or mourn him at the immediate funeral that in fact it was later I would. She told me about lighting a candle for him. About tearing clothing. All the rituals. So that I could participate from afar while I watched his funeral via the synagogues live stream. She told me I could visit his grave in a year's time, as was custom, rather than worry about saying goodbye at the lowering of the casket. This alleviated a lot of guilt I felt that I couldn't make it to his funeral on time. I missed the 1 year anniversary unfortunately. But I will be there for his statue they're erecting sometime in September (that's not Jewish--obviously!). Anyway, I just wanted to share how my mother acting as a sort of tutor for the rest of us has helped my family mourn. By teaching us about his beliefs, the rituals, the stories and everything else. We've been united in our ignorance and healed through learning. Which from what I understand, is very appropriate.
|Marissafirstname.lastname@example.org||I lost my mom before I turned 30. It sucked. But I like to think I got an A+ in grief. I created this resources by the recommendation of a support group I joined (The Dinner Party)||https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jGOgDHJ02YaO0qtFdZLMjG44uI5xeMv1hjnshgri6hc/edit|
|Ramonaemail@example.com||I was lucky to have all four of my grandparents all through my childhood and into my college years and adulthood. Three out of four of them lived to become great-grandparents. I knew them all really well, so when my first grandparent passed away in 2012, it was very emotional and devastating. Before this, I was always uneasy about knowing what to say to someone who had a close friend or relative pass away. I though that "I'm sorry," sounded superficial and meaningless, but when people started telling me, "I'm sorry" after my grandpa passed away, it turned out to be exactly what I wanted to hear. It really did speak volumes, despite its simplicity. I was in the Army at the time of my grandpa's death, and I was stationed in Germany. What was so touching to me was that my boss' secretary called me and asked what they should do for my family, knowing that we were Jewish and might have different traditions. She asked if they should send flowers, and I told her that we normally don't do flowers - but we definitely do food. So for one of the shiva calls, a huge platter of meats from Ben's Deli arrived, ordered from all the way in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Just experiencing the way people went out of their way for our family meant so much, and it's memories like those that sweeten the sadness of a time of mourning.|