Be Ceremonial

How to Host a Grief Walk

Helen Grymaloski explored the rituals offered in Be Ceremonial and created a unique and meaningful Grief Walk Ceremony for the Dryden Regional Palliative Care Committee that she volunteers with.

Over the past few years, I’ve become more curious about ritual and ceremony in both my private and professional life. I first heard about Be Ceremonial in the Death Doula Network International and was instantly intrigued. I realized it was a great resource for myself and for my community.

I was asked to lead a grief walk for the Dryden Regional Palliative Care Committee but I didn’t know where to start. While there wasn’t a specific Grief Walk ceremony to choose from (I’ve been told it’s coming!), because I have a Be Ceremonial subscription I was able to explore all the various ceremonies and find meaningful rituals.

I drew on the ideas and inspiration presented and chose the rituals that I thought might be most beneficial for the group. It was so helpful to have the ceremony structure outlined for me, helping me understand where to start and how to finish the ceremony. 

  • First, we invited people to gather together at a starting point along the river and we set up a table with the supplies.  We asked everyone to choose a rose and a piece of biodegradable seed paper. They were then invited to write a message to a loved one that had died and attach the paper to the rose. We also had amethyst stones that people could take with them, in memory of this day and their loved one. 
  • Once everyone was gathered, we lit a candle.  Then we all began to walk along the river’s edge to another meeting point. We then gathered around in a circle, placing the candle in the middle, and played a meditation I had previously recorded that was about acknowledging our grief and allowing us to feel the feelings we had.  
  • After the meditation, those in attendance were asked if they wished to share anything about their loved one.  We had a moment of silence, then they were invited to walk to the water’s edge and place the rose and message in the river to let it float away with their sorrow.  We offered support if anyone needed it and we came together again to walk back to our starting point.  We closed by blowing out the candle.

Participants later shared with us that the most supportive part of the ceremony was writing down the message, followed by the meditation. This experience offered people a chance to recognize and acknowledge the grief they were carrying, on their own and as a community. It was a healing day for everyone.

Here are some photos from our grief walk.

Helen Grymaloski

Helen Grymaloski

Helen Grymaloski is a long-time caregiver herself, whose heart goes out to anyone facing challenges in their lives, but especially those who are dealing with a life limiting illness and those caring for those loved ones.  It’s important to her that people are able to find support, and not be alone as they navigate their end of life or the care of someone at the end of life.  It can be very lonely, not always knowing where to turn for help, struggling with asking for help, having someone to speak to about those challenges and remembering that it is important to encourage self-compassion for everyone along this journey. She sees the importance in early planning so that we can live our lives fully until we die. If you would like to connect with Helen, you can find her at Blueberry Road

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