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A Cookie on Christmas Day


“May we do something from my culture today?” our Japanese daughter-in-law asked us last Christmas day. “On holidays, we take food to the cemetery and leave it on the graves of our relatives.”

And so we did. We loaded up the cars and drove to the cemetery where several of our family members are buried. She carefully swept away any debris on each grave marker and gently placed a cookie. It was an ancient ritual of honor and respect. It was for her a connection with family members she had never met.

Grief rituals at this time of year can provide a moment to disengage from the holiday activity and create a focal point for our feelings of loss. If you do not have a grief ritual from your family, faith community, or culture, take the opportunity to create one. A ritual is simply an activity that creates a sacred opportunity to reflect on your loss. This activity may be done privately, in a family group or with others who share your loss. There are countless ways to pause and acknowledge those you mourn.

On Christmas day this year and for the years to come, my family will gather at the cemetery, place a cookie on each grave, and remember those we love.

CLICK HERE to purchase a copy of my book “Getting Grief Right.”


Getting Grief Right

by Dr. Patrick O'Malley

A masterpiece that will touch your heart and soul with healing powers. • A compassionate, wise, and practical guide • A must read for anyone who is grieving the loss of a loved one.


Grief Therapist

Dr. Patrick O’Malley is a psychotherapist in Fort Worth, Texas, who specializes in grief counseling. For 40 years, he has counseled individuals, couples and families
in his private practice.


Getting Grief Right

by Dr. Patrick O'Malley

By the time Mary came to see me, six months after losing her daughter to sudden infant death syndrome, she had hired and fired two other therapists. She was trying to get her grief right...

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