- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 29, 2004

Grieving family members sometimes find consolation in working together on a memorial to the loved one who died. One family planted a garden and invited friends and extended family to join them for a service.

Thomas R.Golden, a li-censed social worker who runs www.webhealing.com, says many families build a Web site to honor the person. Family members with different skills can help put it together. Some can contribute pictures, others the design, another the computer programming, and so forth.

“People want to channel their grief,” says Kathy Persson, director of Grief and Loss Services at Capital Hospice in Fairfax. “People want to make sense and meaning of a loss, and people who are ‘doers’ have an advantage.”

In a camp she has participated in for adults, the participants have crafted several memorials. Creating “tear cups” is one. She had a potter make small jars, each with a lip that fits right under the eye so the grieving can collect their tears. People decorated the vials in various ways.

Memory boxes can hold special items relating to the deceased — things that remind the living of the good things about that person.

Mr. Golden and his brother found solace in building their father’s coffin.

Friends dropped by as they worked and reminisced. The women all went in the house and talked with Mr. Golden’s mother. It was a “safe” outlet for all the men’s grief.

Another man brought a block of walnut wood into the house after his wife died and plopped it on the table. He carved a bust of his wife from it over the course of two years.

“In this way, he was with her,” Mr. Golden says.

— Lois M. Baron

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