Since ancient times music has been a source of comfort: it evokes moments of joy or sadness, as well as wishes for good fortune. The ancient Mexicans used to sing the Xochipitzahua, which means little flower. It was performed in all kinds of celebrations, of life and death. To this day, in many Nahuatl-speaking communities, it is used as a ritual to purify births, baptisms, marriages, santorales and funerals.
The women who live in the rural communities of the native peoples fulfil functions of great importance in the life cycle of their population. They participate in agricultural activities, and animal husbandry, are cooks, weavers, merchants, healers, midwives, mothers, and wives and help organize all the traditional religious ceremonies that include funerals and subsequent rituals.
Since June 23, 2011, the General Assembly of the United Nations has declared a day to make visible and draw the attention of the world population to the vulnerability suffered by women who have lost their husbands, the so-called widows.
Nowadays there is an increasingly widespread culture of acceptance of death when it comes to terminal patients whose conditions can no longer be treated with advances in medical science. In those moments, many people affirm that they want to spend their last days assisted in their physical needs, enjoy the company of their loved ones, order pending issues, and surround themselves with a spiritual environment outside the hospitals where they are treated.
One year after the national celebration of Mother’s Day in the United States, in 1909, a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd listened to the tribute speech and thought that fathers also deserved an equal celebration. She came from a family in which she and her five siblings had been cared for by their father, when her mother died giving birth to her last child. Widower William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran, dedicated himself to raising his children with the help of his 16-year-old daughter Sonora.
Humanity, from the beginning of its existence, has been concerned with establishing a place to live and another to die. History museums give us examples of burials near family homes in which death was given a special meaning, due to the care in handling the deceased, the offerings and utensils that were placed along with the bodies.
Information is a tool that strengthens us, especially to learn about a subject as delicate as death. It is the only certainty of life, but it is full of mystery, sometimes misunderstanding and every time it appears, it floods those who face it with profound pain. For this reason, some people have dedicated themselves to deepen, investigate and provide information on this subject, to better understand it and it has been a very important help in the grieving process.
Gestalt psychotherapy, according to its scholars, offers the technique called the empty chair for the purpose of healing conflicting emotions or unfinished business that could not be resolved with certain people and is very useful when it comes to absent loved ones. The exercise in therapy consists of sitting in front of an empty chair and imagining that the person with whom we have issues to resolve is sitting there and it is about talking as if they were listening. Many people have given testimonies of a liberating experience by expressing oppressed feelings and emotions to those who for various reasons could not say them in their real presence.
The Shiva tradition, which takes place the next seven days after the funeral, is a long family gathering where the members spend time sitting in an attitude of contemplation on death, during that time abundant food is served. The family is visited by close friends and relatives who contribute additional dishes. They are served as buffets and eating is a great consolation in mourning, according to Jewish custom.