I got a call from my parents the other weekend saying one of our cats had died. We had had them since I was 14 (16 years now) - they were fully a part of the family. I was quite upset, shed a few tears, and wanted to do something in way of a little memorial for him.
I've called this 'lesser grief' as I in no way find it comparable to, say, losing a parent for example. However, we all have pets, celebrities, people we may know whose deaths do upset us and we want to do something to remember them.
For this I created a 'memorial' oil out of eldar, frankincense and cypress (using olive oil as a base) to dress a candle.
I dressed a white candle, white being the colour of peace, hope and purity, and thought about my little kitty - the memories I had of him and what he meant to me. I visualized him moving on, in peace. when I felt ready, I chanted the following:
"From birth, through life, and on past death the wheel does turn The sea of life flows never-ending We come to light a candle for those who have crossed the veil And pray that they pass safely and find their peace on the other side Oh God's and Goddesses, Spirits of Old Please guide and protect them along their path as they continue on their journey through the shrouded Isle And deliver them safely and lovingly Always shall they remain in the minds and hearts of the living And we give thanks for the time that we were blessed to have known them."
I left the candle burning before it was time to go to bed as a little tribute. I felt that this was enough to honour him and acknowledge the grief I felt, but was in no way overboard - I feel like something like this may be too small a gesture or too soon if it were caused by a much more hard hitting loss..
You can add little touches to make it more personal if you would like - certain herbs could be sprinkled on the candle, some flowers lain, decorate the space with crystals, you could draw a picture, etc. Other herbs, crystals and symbols associated with death and memorials include:
Poppy Flowers (Flower/Herb)
Holly and Ivy (Flower/Herb)
Apache Tears (Crystal)
An Angel statue (Symbol)
A Crow statue or Crow feathers (Symbol)
Grief is never easy, even the lesser grief, and this little ritual can be performed whenever you feel is necessary.