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Care of the Living 

While attending to the dying is imperative, attending to the living is perhaps even more important. After the passing of a loved one, it is essential to have a period of mourning, of grieving, and even of celebrating the loved one. This process allows us AND the loved one to let go, so she can continue on her journey.

In many traditions, a photograph or article of the loved one who has passed is placed on an ancestral altar. There we can celebrate our memories of her in the way she would like us to and thank her for the lessons she has taught us. Whatever rituals we create during this time of loss will help to set her free—and ourselves at the same time.

Various traditions allot different amounts of time for the mourning period. In the shamanic tradition, a half moon is set aside for the process of grieving. After this period, it is done. We know that what has belonged to the Mother, the physical body, has returned to the earth; and what has belonged to the Father, the spirit, has returned to the heavens. The period of mourning in the days following the passing of a loved one lets us celebrate life without death continuing to stalk us.