Don't Forget to Remember: The Importance of Family Recipes, Holiday Traditions, and Stories in the Grieving Process

December 4, 2017 -
5:00pm to 6:30pm

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross--Swiss-born psychiatrist, pioneer in near-death studies and author of the groundbreaking book On Death and Dying—said of grief, “The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.” Grief in the United States is often something we’re told should or could be gotten over. Many people do not or cannot take the time they need to engage with and honor loss in their everyday lives.  The idea that grief is temporary, linear, something to move past and not weave into the texture of our lives, can cause pain, especially around the holidays. In this talk, I’ll discuss how traditions and rituals, food and stories, can help us honor and remember people we’ve lost. I’ll discuss how these ideas influenced my own writing, and how important rituals and family traditions have been in my own process of allowing grief and healing to co-exist. Together, we’ll participate in a writing exercise centered on a family recipe or tradition. Together, we’ll explore how writing the narratives that go along with our traditions can help us find, if not beauty, then some sense of order in the grieving process. We’ll also discuss the importance of creating new rituals and traditions that honor those we’ve lost and keep their memories present through generations.

Location and Address

501 Cathedral of Learning