From Chicken Soup for the Soul Daily Inspirations for Women

July 18

My eldest son’s final 24 hours as a full-time resident in our home went by too quickly for me. We drove home from the airport a different family. No longer a quartet, we were like a wobbly, three-legged table. As the first day without him ended, I visited my eldest’s room and mourned for his boyhood. When nonstop crying brought me no comfort, I realized I needed a mechanism to help me accept the loss.

I remembered a widowed friend telling me she found comfort through observing the Jewish death ritual. The next morning, I began the week-long ritual of grieving, called sitting shiva. I watched old home movies, looked through photo albums, read his favorite books. While the traditional ritual of Jewish grieving is a year in length, I came to terms with my loss in several weeks. I began to think less about the boy and more about the man he had become.

In utilizing ritual to effect my own emotional recovery, I learned that the old ways may hold answers for parents of the New Age and that every parental crisis doesn’t require reinventing the wheel.

Ellyn L. Geisel

When dealing with a crisis, sometimes
the old ways are the best ways.

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