What the death of an animal can teach us about the power of ritual

a ceremony to help children process a death

I’m fascinated and touched and impressed by the deep love many youngsters have for wild animals. It’s a love that appears pure, and generally extra rapid than what many adults (together with me) have to supply, at the very least on the floor.

Yesterday, my 9 12 months outdated noticed from the entrance porch {that a} raccoon had been killed by a automotive on our avenue. It was a horrible sight. She referred to as her siblings out to see. The littler one, who’s six, was very unhappy: “I simply really feel so dangerous for the raccoon.”

I felt dangerous too, and tried to not let the expertise grow to be an emblem for all of the unhappiness I’ve about these kinds of issues.

I instructed we gentle a candle for the raccoon. It occurred to me that the driving force who hit the raccoon most likely felt terrible about it, so I shared that too and wished that individual properly.

After which, although that was all I had for the time being, my children took it from there.

They gathered a wreath, the 9 12 months outdated making the label “raccoon,” and the 6 12 months outdated making the image above, which incorporates an assortment of autos with an enormous X by means of them.

“Why can’t everybody simply experience bikes?” he requested (though within the image I feel the bike acquired an X too.)

This complete factor occurred and the candle burned for the following couple hours they usually instructed dad about it later … and all of this helped them work by means of their emotions. Me too.

It was a tragic state of affairs, however I felt consolation witnessing their emotions of affection and connection, their care for an additional dwelling being and for each other, AND the seeming effectiveness of this ritual.

It taught me about what I can do to handle my very own sadnesses. It taught me that these rituals and gestures might be efficient and significant. And it taught me concerning the loving kindness that lives inside us and is true there to faucet into.

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