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“What will make my grieving holy?”

I am grateful for this question. It came to me while trying to discern how to acknowledge the grief I inherited from my mother’s body.

She bore grief from trauma throughout her life. I knew her grief in utero and always knew it was more than one person should bear.

Now, I want to honor her and honor myself. That is why I am grateful for the question that came out of the blue. “What will make my grieving holy?”

I do not want to grieve her grief. I want to remember HER. Her losses were like a disability. Should I remember a person for their challenges? No. She is ever so much more.

She is light and warm, lively and smart. She is gracious and deeply connected to the dance of life. She laughs and gives you the “raspberries” to convey dislikes. She lets you know what she thinks when you ask. She takes fabric in her hands and fashions it with patience and love. She is cheerful. She cooks, cleans and cares for those around her. She listens and shares wisdom. She travels with eyes wide open.

Now, each day I wonder, what will make my grieving holy?

Teaching in Minnesota yesterday I led a ritual connected to the tree of life. I brought her name written on a slip of paper. I brought a piece of unfinished pansy embroidery. I moved into the center of the spiral of branches to the call of drum and fiddle. The night, the candle light, the beauty of branches gave me a form. Grief moved me in the beauty of loss.

It was holy.



  1. Rituals are what our grief needs to become holy and heal. Many losses are “unbearable ” for one single body, which is why we need the group body. Thanks for sharing about this ritual, Cynthia.

  2. Judy Shook says:

    Holy Grief travels with me as I journey around to sacred sites and do ritual on the island of Hawaii. In this last year 3 wonderful friends died – to Hawaiian men and Amanda who I met at a retreat Masankho and I led here. Chuck’s death was a year and a few months ago. 2 years ago another friend in HI died.

    Thank you for sharing your grief ritual. In the rising and setting of the sun, we remember. In the bird song and laughter of those living, we remember. In the memories, we remember. And our love lives on.

  3. Ginny Christensen says:

    Each time we connect with God, we are bathed in grace. So, each time we give thanks for a loved one, our grief IS holy – and we are bathed in grace.

    In my own grieving times, this grace kept me going, through the grief, beyond the grief, and accompanying me in each returning wave over the years.

    May you be bathed in grace!

  4. DevI wettererer says:

    Dear friend I love that you take the fabric of your life holy and create a masterpiece. Loving and nurturing wings to enfold you always, devi

  5. Dyck says:

    Your shared eulogy of Mom makes me feel so good… that she was ‘seen’.
    And perhaps in the seeing is the being ‘seen’… and the wine bearer makes her rounds.

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