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Good Mourning Rock Ceremony

During the closing ceremony of the Good Mourning grief support group program, each group member (young and old) is presented with a small leather bag containing three small rocks or stones. Each rock is to serve as a reminder of things learned during the support groups.

One rock is rougher than the others. This rock is a reminder of that part inside you that still really hurts when you think of the person who died. As you complete the program, you will take this part of yourself with you.

One rock is smoother than the rough rock. This rock is a reminder of that part of you that is starting to feel better, and you will take this part with you.

The last rock is smooth and polished. It is for that part of you that is feeling much better or will feel much better one day. This is the part of you that takes comfort and strength from your memories of the person who died. You will take this part with you, too.

Those of you who are older may understand that while these three rocks will always be there, they do not fill up your bag--there is still room for other feelings, experiences, memories and relationships. You are also not given three smooth and polished stones because that would not be real. Finally, while everyone does receive three similar rocks, none are exactly the same.

You will never forget the person who died. Our hope for you is that you will continue to find ways to remember the person, to carry him or her in your heart, and to feel less pain and more strength. To do this is to have "good mourning."

Inspired by and modified from a ritual in Waving Goodbye: An Activities Manual for Children in Grief, 1991 edition, Dougy Center, www.dougy.org, Susan Whitney, Project Director.

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