"After everyone had a chance to share, we lowered Lynne’s coffin in the ground using ropes. Emily then explained to us a ritual for beginning the process of filling the grave in: the first time you put the shovel in the pile of dirt next to the grave, you put it in upside down. This means it is very hard to get any dirt on the top of the rounded side, of course, and this is meant to symbolize rejection of the death, and resistance. The second time you do it, however, you turn the shovel right side up; and this symbolizes acceptance. In addition to the first moment I saw the coffin, seeing – and even more so, hearing – dirt from my shovel fall on top of the coffin was the most intense moment for me. There is something extraordinarily powerful about actually burying someone – being an active agent in returning them to the dust. This is death faced head on; and that felt very right to me."
Click here to read the whole story. (Minor content note for death, substance abuse.)