Be Ceremonial

A Guided Grief Meditation from a Death Doula

A Guided Grief Meditation

Death Doula Lauren Seeley shares a guided grief meditation she offers her clients, helping them connect with the memory of their loved ones after they die.

Lauren is a death doula for humans and pets alike. In this ceremony story, she shares some of her go-to rituals from Be Ceremonial, as well as a guided grief meditation she offers her clients, helping them connect with the memory of their loved ones after they die.

Rituals from a Death Doula

As a death doula, I’ve been learning how to incorporate rituals into my own practice, as well as the people I support at the end of life. 

I draw from the Be Ceremonial app to create ceremonies for my clients to connect with the person or the pet they lost in a way that feels right to them.

Be Ceremonial is a great resource for people who want to be more mindful of how they incorporate rituals into their daily lives. I love that the rituals offered are spiritually-neutral, with the invitation to add your own values, beliefs and stories. 

When I’m supporting someone who recently lost a loved one, including a pet, I ask them if they’d like me to guide them through a ceremonial meditation or visualization that can help them feel closer to their loved one.

I always feel closer to the people I’ve lost in my life by creating a ceremony that helps me honor their presence and reconnect with their memory, so I love being able to create this same experience for my clients.

My guided ceremonies often start by opening the sacred space with an intention.

My guided ceremonies often start by opening the sacred space with an intention. I invite my client to speak their intention out loud or ponder it for a moment on their own.

We then light a candle, spray a calming scent, or light some incense to awaken our senses. 

Next, I invite them to choose an object that helps them feel grounded and present in the moment. This might be a small stone or crystal, or often it’s an object that belonged to the person or pet they’re trying to connect with.

We then find a comfortable space where they can lay down or sit surrounded by pillows and blankets. I often place a glass of water next to them, along with a pen and journal. I find it’s helpful to write down things they remember or feel is important as they take this time to connect with their loved ones.

I ask them to picture a place in their mind that feels safe or joy-filled. As they imagine that space, I remind them that if they feel uneasy while journeying, they can return to their safe place by focusing back on the grounding object.

They are in control of their own journey. I invite them to focus on taking slower, more mindful breaths, filling their lungs up completely with air, and then slowly releasing the air like a balloon slowly deflating.

Rituals from a Death Doula

I then ask them to imagine they are beginning a journey either deep into the earth or up into the sky…

Guided Meditation: An Earth Journey

If they choose the earth journey, I invite them to picture a cave or hole in the earth. They can then go deeper into the cave, feeling the comfort of the mud and dirt on their bare feet, knowing they are safe and protected in this space. 

I ask them to listen to see if they can hear running water – a waterfall perhaps – in the distance. As they go deeper into the cave, they are moving toward that sound. I ask them to think about their loved one now – to think about the way they smelled, the sound of their voice, their laughter, their touch. 

I ask them to imagine that those qualities are becoming more intense as they draw closer to the sound of running water. When they arrive at the water source, they can often feel their loved one close to them. They can spend as long as they want in this place, surrounded by the earth and connected through the water. 

Guided Meditation: A Sky Journey

If they choose to journey through the sky, I invite them to imagine they are floating up through the clouds. They are moving up into the air and can look down and see the world below growing smaller and smaller. As they float up into the sky, I ask them to listen for the sound of water – perhaps it’s the rain gently falling. As they draw closer to the water source, the sound of the water intensifies. 

Once they feel the water close by, I invite them to picture their loved one in as much detail as they can. Thinking about the way they smelled, the sound of their laughter, the warmth of their touch. They can often start to feel the presence of their loved one, memories stirring to the surface. They can spend some time together for as long as they like. 

As I bring them back from either the earth or the sky, I invite them to thank their loved one for accompanying them on this journey. They can share how they feel and express gratitude for this time together. As they turn back to the physical world, I invite them to carry the love and warmth they felt during this guided journey with them. 

Grief Treasures

When they arrive back in their safe place, I ask them to take a moment and collect any treasures they gathered during this experience – perhaps it was a feeling they held or words they heard, maybe a forgotten memory came to the surface.

I share that while they cannot physically carry things back from this place, they can hold things in their heart and in their mind. 

When they are ready, they can open their eyes and feel the calmness and stillness that surrounds them. They hold their grounding object for a few more moments, and then place it to the side. This is often when I encourage them to spend a few minutes writing in their journal, taking small sips of water as they process and reflect on their journey. 

Rituals from Be Ceremonial

I found the rituals offered in Be Ceremonial to be so beautiful and meaningful. I love how accessible they are and that I can tailor them to fit my own needs and the needs of the families I support. 

I love that I can help people create ceremonies to connect with loved ones they’ve lost, whether it’s a pet or a human. We hold so many stories deep in our subconscious and using ritual to bring those stories to the surface can be such a gift. 

It’s been so powerful to see how a simple guided meditation can create such a big impact on people, as we carve out time to reconnect with our loved ones through our senses, our stories, and our memories.

Lauren is a death doula for both pets and humans.

Lauren is a death doula for both pets and humans. She works at Compassionate Care Pet Aquamation, and is also an illustrator who resides in Brooklyn, NY. Her areas of interest include end-of-life memory care, green funerals and disposition practices.

You can learn more about Lauren here.

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