The importance of the wake as a ritual for overcoming the loss

The Wake is a ritual that not only is a way to honor and part farewell to our deceased loved ones, but also plays an importante role in the lives of family, friends and community in the process of facing the reality of that loss and starting a healthy grieving process, which will help to overcome the pain and to learn live without that person. To avoid, ignore, or not be able to participate in these funeral rituals may have an impact on the emotional health of family members and make it more difficult to engage in a healthy grieving process no matter the age group. Therefore, it is important to seek guidance in order to practice such rituals according to your beliefs. 

Rituals are a series of activities (religious or not) with meaning and significance that points to a change or an event.

Most rituals are created under the consensus of the community, but there are many types of rituals in which personal consent is sufficient in order to fulfill the purpose for which they were created.

The rituals and the elements used varied among different cultures, but all of the them have something in common. They are means to support and help people to move forward in a healthy way in the face of different events, occurrences, or a need for change they will face throughout life. It gives strength to those who believe and practice them.

The power of ritual comes from faith and tradition, which provides confidence that its execution favor the process that allows the person to move on from a particular event and to overcome it. It only works if it helps the person to reaffirm a belief and reconnect with its purpose. The expected outcome should always be soothing and healing, in order to strengthen and encourage the person to endeavor in the process to come.

Today we will talk about farewell rituals, such as the Wake (or Viewing). This ritual has many purposes, and surely one of the main ones is to dismiss the loved one and it also helps the family of the deceased to begin the process of learning to live with the absence of the loved one. This is known as the grieving process.

The grief or mourning is a transitional process where people go through stages in which they may face the pain of the loss, overcome the undesired situation, and finally come to adapt to the new reality, without the loved one. The Wake was created to assist in this process.

As we discussed previously, the Wake ritual intends to fulfill many purposes of which some may be highlighted:

  1. Notify the community of the death; Just as a baby is presented at birth, so an announcement is made when a person dies.
  2. Farewell to the deceased; A moment to close cycles, and to say some last words.
  3. Commemorate and honor the life of the deceased.
  4. Become aware of death and be able to advance in the acceptance of reality, in order to begin the grieving process.
  5. Provide a place to offer emotional support to the family, relatives and close friends.

In case of direct cremation, the families may opt to perform other rituals that may favor the healthy farewell and the grieving process. Here at Plenitud Group we can accompany you and support these decisions by offering you an option to perform a wake ritual with the ashes, so you can still have this close moment.

Keep in mind that the wake ritual is only the beginning of the grieving process. During this process, different personal, family and community rituals are performed as they help to advance through the different stages of grief, and also assist the performance of some tasks associated with overcoming, after the death of loved ones. Some examples are novenas, which are acts of remembrance each month or each year since the person died, such as visits, masses, among other things. A family reunion may take place in order to see photos and remember the deceased, make donations, plant flowers or trees. All these things are types of rituals that strengthen the ones alive and honor the deceased, and they are necessary to accomplish the required transition to adapt to the new life.

In this process you are not alone. Contact us and we will offer you the necessary advice to organize the wake adapted for you and your family, and we will accompany you in the grieving process that you are going to go through with your family.

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