A New DAWNe: Divorce Ceremonies

As humans, we learn, grow, celebrate and let go through the process of ceremonious events to mark major occasions.  The announcement of a new life is punctuated with a baby shower and later, a baptism… we have a ritual to follow when children lose teeth… there are birthday parties… graduations… weddings… anniversary festivities… and funerals.  Yet there is no traditional event to mark the end of a partnership.  We have no recognized period of mourning, no ceremony to honor what was and welcome what is to become.  When a marriage ends, a family is left fumbling in the fallout.  Without ritualistic guidelines, rabid emotions reign supreme and often drive the process into a hellish downward spiral.

It’s been more than two years since I first wrote a post suggesting divorce ceremonies be part of the evolutionary process for a family.  And it’s been two weeks since I wrote about my experience at the Divorce Expo, where I met Teresa Dedovitch, who performs ceremonies for those moving on from a concluded relationship.  Because I feel this is so important, I followed up with Teresa the week after the expo and we spoke more about the “life reconciliation” services she offers.  Below you can find her personal story of the origin of her idea and name for her ministry…

My idea and all my inspiration for the start of a New Dawne is two-fold but began when I was planning my eldest daughter’s wedding about 4 years ago. Having been just the three of us for so long, my two daughters and I, my main focus for all of these years was their emotional and mental well-being and I was suddenly stopped in my tracks during all the plans and excitement. I watched my daughters light up and resonate in a way I hadn’t seen in a long time, and the horrible thought hit me that what if somewhere down the road, the marriage wasn’t going to work out?! All this pomp and all this circumstance helped to deliver the beautiful message home to everyone involved that two people were in love and they were going to be together forever. The correct psychology of this event and ritual was there for my daughter and son-in-law to grasp the reality of the divine joining of their lives, but what was in place for their hearts and their heads should this fail? Nothing.

I started to wonder what could possibly help the devastating emotional pain and trauma that comes out of every divorce whether it was friendly or ugly. I began my research and to my surprise I found Nothing.

So my idea gelled and formulated. I sat down and talked to my daughters (after a good time had passed since the wedding, of course). They gave me their insights and what they feel may have benefitted them if such a ceremony existed. They doubt to this day that anything would have helped in the aftermath of my divorce considering our particular circumstance, but they both agree, it would have helped me.

So during the planning and launching of my idea I created websites, a mission statement, ceremony proceedings, did tons of research but didn’t have any idea what to call it! During this time a cousin of a friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer. Her name was Dawne Lenni. She was 44 years old and had just come back to the bosom of her family to finally raise her 3 daughters clean and sober after many years of and many battles with addiction. Within 2 years of her return she was diagnosed with a cancer whose source couldn’t be detected. Within one year of her diagnosis her mother and children and whole family watched her suffer immeasurable pain. I met Dawne all of four times in my whole life.  Twice before her diagnosis, and twice when she was in the last stages of cancer of which one of those times she was not very coherent. During this particular meeting with Dawne I held her hand for some kind of comfort, I think for myself as much as for her. She lost her battle in October of 2010

My brief encounter with Dawne gave me great and profound insight to her feelings and her inner most tribulations. She conveyed to me that she was absolutely and completed relieved to be finally leaving her body. She was so very, very tired of something. She was welcoming her “closure”. Later (over a year later) when I spoke to her mother and told her what I had learned, I was told why this was so true and validated why I knew Dawne wasn’t willing to fight, though everyone believed her to be doing so.

My inspiration for the name of this ministry is absolutely attributed to Dawne Mazzeo Lenni. She has been an angel over my shoulder ever since and has let me know it in many small ways. I mostly argue with her, but she seems to know what I need to keep my one foot ever forward. Without her and my knowledge of her, I would never be able to believe in this so strongly and impress on others how much they need fundamental ritualistic closure from such a devastating and life altering event as divorce.

If you’re considering an event to mark such a transition in your life, check out Teresa’s web site.  If you like what you see, reach out and make contact.  Teresa uses her gifts of empathy and compassion to provide the type of experience that her clients need to let go, move on and feel better.  She is extremely knowledgeable about the various elements and symbolism that may be incorporated and she prefers to customize her client’s experience to ensure the most healing outcome.


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