The Map for the Journey of the Bereaved

Mar 17 th

What is a Map?

Maps are magic – “They’ve become so mundane we’ve forgotten that.  They transport us from one place to another.  They illuminate our universe.  The first maps were of the heaven, you know. What the ancients could see. Where their gods lived.  All cultures mapped the stars.  But then they lowered their sights.  To the world around them.” 

“Maps gave the control over their surroundings, for the first time ever.  It showed how to get from one place to another.  It sounds simple now, but thousands of years ago it would have been an incredible feat of imagination and imagery.  All maps are drawn as though looking down.  From a bird’s point of view.  From their god’s point of view. Imagine being the first person to think of that.  To be able to wrap their minds around a perspective they’d never seen.  And then draw it.”

“It meant they could plan, they could strategize”…They could see into the future. Where they were going. And what they’d find.  The tribe, the nation, the enterprise with the most accurate maps won.”

“Even the word is interesting. Map. It comes from mappa mundi.  Mappa is Latin for napkin. Mundi is world, of course.  Isn’t that wonderful? A napkin, with their world on it. The mundane and the magnificent. Map.”

-From The Great Recking by Louise Penny.

Myths about death from cultures around the world connect the themes of transition, resurrection and rebirth to the individual who has died.  Transition marks the passage from one state to another.  Our loved ones made their transition from the state of being alive in their physical bodies to the death of those bodies.  Likewise, our lives have been changed from Before Death Day to After Death Day, and we have transitioned from a life that included our loved ones living with us in this physical plane to a place of deep and profound grief.  A place where we can become stuck and bitter.

Our loved ones then defy physical death and are resurrected in spirit and reborn to new spiritual lives just as Christ in Christian mythology was resurrected and forever afterward associated with heaven, and as Osiris in Egyptian mythology was resurrected and associated with the underworld.  We too, the ones left behind are on a sacred journey to resurrect our lives from this place of deep and profound grief, and to be reborn into new lives

This is our map, we must go through transition and then resurrection to be reborn into new and meaningful lives using the energy of Death and the wisdom of grieving to guide us.

Death has issued a challenge to us—we can seize the opportunity for growth or stagnate in despair. Our departed loved ones do not want to see us stagnate. They gave us the ultimate gift so that we can create new and better lives. This is our destiny.