Years ago, I was geographically far from a loved one when they were gravely ill. Feeling lonely and helpless can be overwhelming. If we can take a moment to catch our breath, those feelings will slowly get smaller and we can give ourselves the space to honor our loved one. The following chair ritual was shared with me by Anne Murphy, a celebrant, vigil guide, and death educator. You can learn more about Anne at her website, A Thousand Hands.
If you are anticipating a death or experiencing a death and you are unable to physically be with your person ~
- Find an area in your home where you can be seated and place a chair in front of you.
- Place an object that symbolizes your person on the chair. A few suggestions for an object: a photo, an article of clothing, or a blanket.
- Sit down facing the chair.
- Center your breath and body by breathing in to the count of 5 and exhaling to the count of 5; do this 3-5 times.
- As you would open the door for a person who is visiting your home, invite your person to have a seat on the chair.
- When you feel ready, speak out loud or silently as if your person is sitting across from you.
- Share any words of love, gratitude, or forgiveness.
- Receive any words, sensations, or images of gratitude, love, or forgiveness.
- As you would walk a visitor out of your home, let your person know that you are complete.
Repeat as needed and adapt to what works best for you.