Wearing a Symbol of Mourning

In Western society, the practice of actively mourning through symbolic clothing or jewelry has faded, reflecting our culture’s preference for getting things done fast, which can provide the false impression that “everything is back to normal.” In the past, wearing black clothing or putting a wreath on a home was a symbol of mourning. Today people are wearing silicone bracelets or bands to indication their connection to a cause. The “Live Strong” bracelets from Lance Armstrong started this movement. The bands typically can be worn by others as an act of support for a person they care about, or as a sign to others that you are personally affected by an issue.

For those who are grieving, custom band bracelets are often now available at funeral homes for you to add the name of your loved one with a special symbol or saying. You can also find bracelets online through the Widowers Toolbox. When the grandfather died in a large family, the grandkids ranging from ages 11 to 22, wore white bracelets with the deceased name and a dove. These bracelets can open up the door of conversation to others to let them know that you are grieving and build an understanding about what is helpful to you.

Depending on your comfort level, bands can be worn with the writing on the outside (an opportunity to share with others), the writing in the inside (eliminating the opportunity for discussion) or concealed (shielding you from discussion).

If displaying or wearing a symbol of mourning is comfortable to you, what others ideas do you have for such a symbol?