In an Indonesian village called the Toraja people dig up their dead and clean them. This is for a ceremony known as the “Ma’nene” or “The ceremony of cleaning corpses”. The dead that have died in a place not of their origin are dug up, cleaned, dressed in new clothes after which their loved ones travel to the place of death and accompany them back to the village; This is in accordance with the Torajan belief that the spirit of the dead must return to his village of origin. This seems bizarre to many people and some would even criticize the Toraja village for this. But it is paramount that we keep in mind their values and beliefs which shaped this ritual and that it could be poles apart from our own values and beliefs.
Many people say that the dead live on in the hearts of the living and this makes it more difficult for the living to find a sense of closure. Just as the Torajan villagers gain a sense of closure on the occasion of “Ma’nene”, different cultures around the world have their own ways of finding closure.
In the west, mourning is the period during which the living feel deep sorrow over the passing of their kin. However, many also believe that mourning is a process that one must undergo to and complete in order to gain a sense of closure. In the article “Finding my muse while mourning” by Chelsi West, she touches upon her own experience with mourning after the passing of her father. She writes about the difficulty she has every year around the time of his death and the feelings of “melancholy that lingers after a loss”. She writes about how her father helped mould her writing and it becomes apparent from her article that ‘writing’ is a thread that connects her and her father. In the end she concludes by writing that instead of writing through the grief, she will embrace it and write with the grief, she adds in the last few lines “while we try to make sense of it all, we remember just that: we are all learning how to navigate.”