Written by Kim Stacey, MA, CFD, CGC
When a close family member or friend dies, it tears a ragged hole in the fabric of our lives. The experience of grieving their passing is a process where we work to repair this damage and restore well-being while cultivating a new relationship with our deceased loved one. Cremation keepsake jewelry can make this time of healing, when we work to redefine our priorities and recover our sense of purpose easier. Here’s how:
After the death of a loved one, it can feel as if the closeness you once had with him or her is gone forever. We dwell on their absence, not fully realizing the only thing that’s really gone is their physical presence. When wearing a piece of cremation jewelry, we’re reminded of a very simple fact: the love you shared is still here; your loved one is still, and will always be, a part of your life.
The experience of bereavement is nothing if not chaotic. The mix of physical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional reactions is unpredictable. On some days you can feel like you’re losing your mind; that you just can’t handle one more thing. People often describe grief as making them feel “out of balance” and vulnerable because of it (especially in the early days after loss). For them, a cremation urn necklace or cremation pendant restores equilibrium, allowing them to move forward in a healthy way.
Picture ‘balance’ as a high-wire act; a piece of cremation jewelry can be likened to the long pole a tightrope walker uses to stay on that thin wire instead of falling. Some who mourn find it more valuable to use a cremation urn pendant or cremation necklace as a means to ground themselves; to make him or her fully present in their body and connected with the ground their walking. Grounding allows them to feel more capable of coping, no matter what's going on around them.
One of the most profound comments about grief I’ve heard came from the second episode of the second season of Dexter, a popular television program: "If the eyes are the window to the soul, then grief is the door. As long as it's closed, it's the barrier between knowing and not knowing. Walk away and it stays closed forever; but open it and walk through it, and pain becomes truth."
A cremation urn necklace or cremation pendant can serve to keep that door open; to make grief more accessible. We can’t walk away or ignore our loss, which allows us to confront it, to do the work of grieving.
What does that work entail? It depends on who you listen to. Kubler-Ross proposed there are five stages of grief, Theresa Rando proposed the "Six R" process of mourning; both these (as well as the four stage model of grieving as proposed by John Bowlby) are valuable; but the model of bereavement I appreciate the most comes from William Worden. In his book Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy, he proposed there are four tasks of mourning; I like his perception of mourning best because it’s work-oriented:
• Task #1: To accept the reality of the loss
• Task #2: To work through the pain of grief
• Task #3: To adjust to an environment in which the deceased is physically absent
• Task #4: To find an enduring connection with the deceased while embarking on a new life.
Cremation keepsake jewelry can help in accomplishing each of those tasks. Think of it this way: a cremation necklace or cremation urn pendant can act as a ‘door stop’, if you can imagine it, holding the door to your grief open so you can access it, sit with it and ultimately work through these tasks.
The Benefits of Cremation Jewelry are Many
In review, cremation keepsake jewelry restores and reaffirms our loving connection to the deceased. It can help us to both restore balance and ground ourselves during one of the most difficult times in our lives. A cremation necklace or cremation pendant can also act as a "door stop", holding the door to our grief open; giving us opportunities to do the work of grieving.
But, in the end, for many, cremation keepsake jewelry allows them to "hang on" to the deceased, while learning to let go, which 19th century physician and writer Havelock Ellis described as a critical ‘art of living’: "All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on." (Source: BrainyQuote)
I can see paraphrasing his words this way: “All the art of grieving lies in working to let go while still holding on.” A piece of keepsake jewelry can give us a tangible way to hold on to our deceased loved one and also serve to help us to do the work of grieving their absence.
About the Author:
Kim Stacey is an anthropologist, licensed funeral director and certified grief counselor. She has been writing for funeral professionals and those they serve since 2005.