Everyone has their own definition of happiness—what it looks like and how to achieve it. When a child steps outside of a parent’s idea of happiness, which can be marriage and family; it is difficult for that parent to let go and take in a breath of understanding. Nonetheless, it is important for the parent to pause and reflect when change takes place around them. When their child divorces they must listen to their own feelings of loss, and respect the shift happening within them.
This ritual can take place outside or inside, however it needs to be a quiet peaceful place to allow reflection. It can either be with both parents or only one; their child must not be present. This ritual is a time solely for the parents to think and feel without reservations.
Ritual will need a pen and paper, two candles, and matches.
Parent(s) open with a poem (suggested reading is Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost).
Parent(s) lights the two candles, which represent both their child and her/his spouse. As they light the candles they say the names each candle represents.
The parent(s) then take the pen and paper and sit down and answer three questions—taking as much time as they need.
1. What are you most hurt/remorseful/angry/disappointed about with the divorce of your child? This is an opportunity for the parent to say what is in their hearts about how they feel about their child’s divorce, without fear of judgement.
2. What are their fears regarding this divorce? What are they most afraid of regarding their child and their family?
3. What are their hopes for their child’s future? What are their hopes for their own future?
This is a process of letting go and taking in for the parent. Letting go of the dream or story involving their child and receiving the reality of the situation, but also the possibilities for a new beginning for their child and themselves.
After the parent(s) are done writing they have the option to read their answers to each other or read them quietly to themselves. If it is one parent they can read silently or aloud what they wrote.
Parent(s) close with a poem (suggested poem is I Go Among Trees and Sit Still by Wendell Berry).
After the poem is read the parent(s) sit in meditation for as long as they need. When they feel ready they stand and rip apart what they wrote and blow out the candle that represents their child’s spouse saying his/her name.
Atheist Nexus Website. Wendell Berry Poem. http://www.atheistnexus.org/group/arspoetica/forum/topics/i-go-among-trees-and-sit-still-by-wendell-berry.
Poem Hunter. Robert Frost Poem. http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/nothing-gold-can-stay/.