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Adult Grief Program for Small Groups - Lesson 8

Lesson #8-at-a-glance

Station Five on the Journey Continued: “Integration”


Creating ritual and ceremony

Guiding Word:


Guiding Question:

What was your experience with the State of Grace Document?

Guiding Quotation: Rose Kennedy

“Birds sing after a storm;

Why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them?”

Invitation to the Project:

Reviewing the primary processes of Part One

Ritual: Candle-lighting

Memory, Hope and Gratitude

*** Explanation: This lesson wraps up the first 8-weeks of our grief program. We offer closure to the sacred work through the ancient practice of ritual

Check in: Pass the talking stick to the left (from the heart)

Guiding quotation: Rose Kennedy

“Birds sing after a storm;

Why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them?”

Review the Processes of the Past Weeks:

  • Recognizing and owning our losses (loss line)

  • Feeling the pain (watching the movie, observing the phases of loss & grief, mural of grief images)

  • Making memories (name poems, collage, forgiveness letter)

  • Healing (weaving, taking care of our hearts, shattered dreams, broken hearts, letter to Grief, State of Grace Document)

  • Ritual and ceremony of completion

Follow up and sharing:

  • Your State of Grace Document

  • Your thoughts on what it means to “thrive in the face of suffering”

  • Have you moved closer to “thriving” in the last 8 weeks? How so?

  • Your evaluation of what has been powerful for you in this grief work

  • Thinking back to the first session and to the word that you chose to describe what you hoped to get out of this class, did you achieve that? Please explain.

Optional Candle-lighting ceremony:

Each participant is invited to light a votive candle, then say,

“I light this candle in memory of…… hopes of………in gratitude for……”

Moment of silence

(Pass these lines written on a card along with the lighter; or put the lines on the board)

**Grief Ritual of Closure: Optional and Open to your Creativity


The purpose of this ritual is to acknowledge what/who has been lost; to gain consolation and closure:

  • To say what we didn’t get a chance to say

  • To be at peace with the endings and beginnings of life’s cycles

  • To tie up any loose ends/unfinished business

  • To find peaceful acceptance of what is

  • To say good-bye and allow the complete unfolding of our grief

  • To remember and to honor who/what has been lost

Invite participants to bring flameless candles, scarves, photos and personal, sacred objects to create a grief alter. Invite sharing as we gather at the grief alter.

Invite participants to focus on closure and saying good-bye to whom/what they choose.

Then in pairs, participants sit knee to knee: one person is the silent, compassionate witness to the ritual of saying good-bye; the other person says good-bye and brings closure through the following five steps:

  1. I’m sorry

  2. I forgive you

  3. I love you

  4. Thank you

  5. Good-bye

Reverse the process so that both participants take part in the ritual.

(This ritual for closure comes from Dr. Ira Byock, a pioneer in the American Hospice movement)

“In the Bag”:

Lesson #8 Talking stick

Notebook/Journal Tablecloth

Box of pens Candle/Lighter

Tissues Votive Candles

Singing bowl or bell Loss line

*Materials for the grief alter

Empowerment emerges as we share our losses;

Within the sacred circle of grief and loss, a new energy is born through listening, compassion and courage.

This is the magic:

That a few ordinary people have chosen to sit together and to be moved and changed by the grief and loss of another.

This is where we discover our humanity and what we all have in common:

Change is the only constant in life.

As we learn to deal with loss and heal our grief, we are empowered to be healthy and happy people. And we can truly thrive in the face of suffering.

“I light this candle in memory of

In hopes of

In gratitude for "

“Birds sing after a storm;

Why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them?”

~ Rose Kennedy

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