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grief rites foundation

Grief Rites Foundation provides support to the grieving community through awareness, advocacy and education. We create safe sacred spaces to gather in community, to hold space, to bear witness. Monthly storytellers showcase provides an opportunity for community to come together and share their stories of life, loss and love.

Grief Rites Foundation empowers each of us to be present in our grief. Grief is what is left behind following a loss. Any and all types of loss. Grief is not just a product of death; it is the product of the end of anything that we thought would be. The end of a relationship, friendship, career. The end of the dreams we have. The end of the way we thought things would be. And yes, the end of a life. We grieve when someone we love dies, our parents and children and siblings, our friends and our lovers. We crack into a million pieces and are never the same again. Something or someone ends, there's something left that goes on. That thing is grief.

Grief lives and breathes and has a life of it's own. Grief inhabits the shadowy little nooks and crannies within our bodies. We must acknowledge and give voice to our grief, allow it to move through us. Find a way to give it a voice, to be heard, to be seen, to be held and witnessed. Whether that is through words or art or music or movement, we must find a way to move the grief through our bodies and let it flow.

We don't ever get over grief. We get used to how hard it is.

When we hide and bury and quiet our grief, that is how we get stuck. It wraps it's sticky fingers around us and strangles us from the inside out. It holds us back. It stuffs us into the shadowy corners and hides all the light and warmth. Slowly, by looking right at our grief, by supporting it and acknowledging it, by talking about it and sharing it, we will find that we are not alone.


Grief Rites Foundation is a pending 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.


We are connectors. We are empaths.

We are heart wranglers. We are love.


Melissa Lynne


Melissa’s mother died in March 2014 and everything changed in that instant...her priorities, her career, her purpose and passion, her outlook on life and death. She crumbled into a heap under the blankets and shut out the world, where she stayed for almost a year. The thing that brought her back and kept her going was returning to the page, returning to the written word, returning to something that felt like life. The words came through her body and soul and heart and gut and quite literally saved her life. She wrote her way back to a life she needed and wanted to live. She resurfaced with a fearlessness to look grief head on and to feel all of it...the pain, the insanity, the beauty and love, the snotty tears on the shower floor or the shoulder of the kind stranger at the grocery store. She gave herself permission to grieve and trusted herself to feel anything that came.

Today, Melissa’s grief lives in her body, in that place where loving and creating intersect. Where she blesses and honors it. Where it’s fed and watered. Where it’s shown darkness and sunshine. Where it is cherished. Where it leads her one day into the next.

Melissa is co-founder/curator/editor of Grief Rites Foundation, where she uses connection and storytelling to walk beside others who are feeling the loneliness and isolation of grief. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her 3 children, 2 cats and dog. She thrives in trees and moss and mist. 


Mari gonzález


The daughter of Cuban immigrants, Marialicia and was raised in Miami, with a value in the efficiency of love & creativity. She is American-born but her mother languages are Spanish & Portuguese.

Mari started writing as a child, as a way to vent and witness herself. Poetry gave rise to her imagination. Over the last 20 years, as a midwife, minister, and palliative care nurse, she’s had the privilege of ushering thousands through the passage of life and death. She has been published in midwifery journals since her early 20's and most recently in VoiceCatcher.
As a writer and leatherworker, she burns her poetry into handmade/handcrafted bags, cuff bracelets, and other pieces that flow from her hands and heart. Mari is a faculty member at Birthingway College of Midwifery & works as an RN as well.

Mari is co-founder/curator/editor of the Grief Rites Foundation, where her divine light brings ritual and ceremony to honor the presence of grief. She lives in Portland, Oregon. When not writing or leathering, you’ll find her reading, writing, playing, hiking, swimming, swinging in her hammock, snow shoeing, spending time with loved ones, or simply star gazing.


Contact Us

Want to signup for a storytelling event? Have questions about sharing your story? Want to discuss bringing Grief Rites events to your city? Questions about community resources? General questions or requests? 

Contact us...we're here...we're listening.


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