The aftermath of the epic earthquake in Nepal is on my mind as I continue to read headlines and see footage of this beautiful country in ruins. What happens to the collective energy of a country when so many of its people are grieving and mourning? As a strong believer in the importance of rituals, especially when it comes to death and dying, I was relieved to read that many Nepalese were honoring their deceased loved ones through cremation rites and ceremonies, including one Hindu tradition where the mourner circles the pyre three times before lighting it. “May your souls rest in peace,” a man chants. Yes, I like that. “Losing you has turned my heart to stone.” No. That second phrase does not sit well with me. I think many of us who have endured the death of a loved one would disagree with his statement. Grief, in my experience, actually has the opposite effect. Four years after my beloved mom’s death, my heart feels like it has actually expanded, exponentially. Yes, I had to feel deep pain and sadness and longing, but over time, grief was a gift because I also have more capacity now to feel joy, contentment and empathy. A heart turned to stone is no way to honor the dead. By mourning their death, and allowing ourselves to experience the full range of feelings that come with grief, we acknowledge the importance of the deceased in our life and celebrate their time on Earth.