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Personal ritual tools for processing ambiguous loss.

By Hadley Feingold

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Human beings have created death rituals since the dawn of civilization. We hold funerals, scatter ashes, write eulogies, and practice countless religious rites. What ceremony do we have when a loved one is unrecognizable due to dementia? How should we move through the conflicting feelings of divorce? We are meant to hold this grief, but why? 


Many cultures do not sufficiently validate or ritualize the grief caused by ambiguous loss, which is loss not associated with a clear death (e.g., dementia, divorce, chronic illness, breakups). I propose an alternative memorialization technique.

These tools provide strength and beauty in the act of inscribing and marking sites in sand, a forever-changing, in-between place, at the intersection of land and sea. 

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