Female orcas have been known to swim with a dead baby as a mourning ritual. What was most unusual this past summer was when researchers observed one female carrying the corpse for 17 days traveling over 1000 miles. (Videos available on YouTube)

In New Zealand the indigenous Maoris who have not converted to Christianity still practice ‘tangihanga” where the dead body lies outdoors in an open coffin for three days before burial in order for mourners to grieve. Traditionally, tangihanga was held for weeks in order for friends and relatives to publicly mourn.

While rituals may differ religiously or culturally, it is commonly known that ritual helps in the grieving process. Personalized and private rituals are being created as well. It might be playing a song over and over, one which was a favorite of the dead person or one that was shared by both. A survey noted one person chose to wash “his car every week as he used to do”. When my father died I went to his favorite diner on his regular Monday night and ordered his standby dinner of meatloaf, not something I would have chosen for myself. It was a way of connecting to him and the waitresses who knew and served him for years.

Have the confidence to follow your heart and choose a private ritual in addition to what you would normally follow and always remember - WRITING A LETTER to your loved one is always beneficial no matter how long since he/she died.