January 14, 2014 at 5:08 pm | Posted in Cemetery, Grief, Jake, Sawyer | 4 Comments
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Every time Evan and I leave the cemetery we wash our hands with water.  I know everyone washed their hands when leaving the cemetery after Jake’s funeral and then after Sawyer’s.  The other day I realized I have no idea why we wash our hands, so I decided to look it up.   There seem to be many different theories including the following:

  • Hand washing marks “the departure from the surroundings of death and to signify a renewed attachment with life.”
  • Washing hands symbolizes a “disassociation from death.”
  • Some used to interpret washing hands in order to banish “evil spirits.

The explanation that I like the best is that we wash our hands to signify the “transition from departing the place of death to entering that of life; it is also an attempt mentally to leave behind the realm of the past and re-embrace the present”.  At times, I have to work hard to stay in the present so the physical act of washing hands is a good reminder for me.


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  1. It’s Jewish tradition. Cemeteries carry ritual uncleanness (not in the sense that they’re dirty or gross, but just that they are connected with death), and we wash to get rid of the ritual impurity.

  2. Thinking of you Lanie

  3. I am a big fan of traditions. I hope this one brings you peace each time you leave the cemetery. Missing you!

  4. Yes I like your take on it very much too. Oxoxo

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