Chapter 15: Sacred Ceremonies, Sacred Space: The Role of Rituals and Memorials in Grief and Loss

Kenneth Doka’s chapter considers the role of ritual and memorials in grief. Doka recounts the rich traditions that surround military funerals as well as the history of memorials. While rituals are generally therapeutic, he describes ways to enhance the value of such rituals such as personalizing the funeral, allowing participation, addressing cultural differences, and acknowledging the multiple identities that frame most lives. In validating the importance of sacred space and sacred ceremonies, Doka notes that the therapeutic value of rituals need not be limited to funerals. Rituals can become part of the therapeutic process used to reaffirm a continuing bond, mark a point of transition in the journey with grief, affirm the significance of the decreased, or to finish unfinished business.

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