A Simple Good-bye Ritual

          by Christine Longaker


First, light a candle in front of a photo of the person you’ve lost.

If you like, you can imagine a radiant, loving presence is above you, filling the room with compassion and blessings.

Now write down three things you really want this person to know. This is especially helpful when you couldn’t be with the person when he or she died, or if the death was unexpected.

Imagine your loved one is here, in front of you, and read out loud what you’ve written.

Consider that the person has really heard you, and then, imagine how they might respond. You may want to write this down as well, and then read it out loud – allowing yourself to take it in.

Now, take a moment to notice, without judgment, how you are. With kindness and compassion, be present with whatever this brought up for you.

Remember, there’s no perfect way to make a ritual. It’s fine to adjust whatever feels right for you.

If you like, you can conclude by listening to a meditation or piece of music, or by reading a prayer or poem.

You may wish to dedicate the blessings of this ritual for your loved one, for others you know who are struggling, and for yourself – that you might find strength, and compassion, and a positive way forward in your life.

See also: 

A Slightly Longer Good-bye Ritual

The Five-part Love Letter technique by John Gray

A Non-Denominational Ritual for a Group

The Unfinished Business Dialogue for Healing Relationships, from “Facing Death and Finding Hope”

English: The Unfinished Business Dialogue

Nederlands: Onafgemaakte zaken

Hilfreiche Ressourcen bei Trauer

Guided Meditations for Easing Grief

Essential Phowa for Another Person

Establishing a Noble Intention for Others

The Heart Practice for Suffering

Cultivating Compassion

Click the image below to access additional guided meditations in Deutsch, Francais, English, Italian, Chinese, and Spanish:

Covid-19 Spiritual Care Resources

Two Free Chapters from “Facing Death and Finding Hope”

I’m offering the best chapters from Facing Death and Finding Hope: Ch. 3: The Needs of the Dying, and Ch. 11: Understanding Grief.

Download 2 chapters English  

Download 2 chapters Deutsch

To buy the print or e-book:

English, USA: “Facing Death and Finding Hope”

Deutsch : Dem Tod Begegnen und Hoffnung Finden

Nederlands : Het Licht van Afschied.

Francais : ebook “Trouvour L’Espoir Face a la Mort”

Francais print book: Trouver L’Espoir Face a la Mort

Italian:  Ogni tramonto è un’alba

Easing Grief with the Warmth of Self-Compassion Seminar  (None scheduled at this time.)

Grief is a natural response when someone close to us dies, yet often we are completely unprepared for the intense feelings and chaos that are unleashed. After someone has died, we long to find ways to show our love, or heal the relationship, but don’t know how. Three invaluable things help to ease grief: 1st – connection; 2nd – finding a refuge or source of peace; and 3rd – having compassion for yourself. No matter how long ago your loved one has gone, here are meaningful tools that can support you emotionally, physically and spiritually.

The seminar includes:

The natural process of grief

Methods for healing the relationship and saying a good good-bye

Continuing bonds with our loved one who’s gone

Relying a refuge or source of peace

Guided meditations on kindness, healing, and self-compassion

Compassionate listening

Spiritual support for the deceased

Christine Longaker is author of “Facing Death and Finding Hope”, published in 9 languages. She has forty years’ experience training Palliative Care professionals in contemplative approaches to end-of-life care, and she’s experienced the death of two partners.

The online weekend seminar is an opportunity to experience connection, compassion for yourself, lightening your emotional burdens, and meditations that are healing for oneself and an invaluable support for those who have died.

“I participated in your first Easing grief online workshop on Sept 19th. Along with everyone in this strange time of pandemic, fires and smoke, and political chaos, I am experiencing a deep grief for all that was ‘normal” and familiar’- intensified by the death of my beloved partner in the midst of our collective angst. Thank you, Christine for ‘Easing Grief’ – offering connection, refuge and compassion to me and all who joined you.”               – Linda, California

© 2020 text and photo Christine Longaker