The Sibling Connection|
Learn about Grief from other
In terms of
death and grieving, three patterns of culture can be found on this planet.
- The first is death-defying cultures, like that of the ancient
Egyptians. Their elaborate mummifying rituals were meant to secure life
beyond the grave.
- Next are the death-denying cultures, such as we have in the
United States. Although we do seem to be undergoing some changes, in
general, we prefer to keep thoughts of death and grief in the
background. The bereaved are given subtle or blatant messages to get
over it and move on, leaving mourners with inadequate support so they
can complete the grief process.
- The third pattern of culture is that of death-accepting
cultures. We have much to learn from the death-accepting cultures about
the process of grief and what it is all about.
In this section, I will include stories
and articles related to the grief process from other countries,
beginning with these two: The Legend of the Tear Jar from Greece, and
the Nests of the Loneliness Birds from South America. The Legend of the Tear Jar
In the dry climate of ancient Greece,
water was prized above all. Giving up water from one's own body, when
crying tears for the dead, was considered a sacrifice. They caught their
precious tears in tiny pitchers or "tear jars" like the one shown here
These captured tears were considered to
be "holy" water and were sprinkled on doorways to keep out evil, or used
to cool the brow of a sick child.
The tear jars themselves were kept
unpainted until the owner had experienced the death of a parent,
sibling, child, or spouse. After that, the grieving person decorated the
tear jar with intricate designs, and examples of these can still be seen
throughout modern Greece.
This ancient custom symbolizes the
transformation that takes place in people who have grieved deeply. They
have not "gotten over" their grief, but rather "grown through" it. They
appreciate relationships more. They appreciate life more. They find
meaning in little things.
Those whom grief has transformed are
not threatened by the grief of other people in pain. They have been in
the depths of pain themselves, and returned.
Click here to read The Nest of the
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