A new symbol of loss, life and hope
The Green Leaf Project is a new initiative to re-frame grief, bereavement and loss. Its key purpose is to bring people and communities together to normalise death and loss through open, healthy and compassionate discussion. Discussing death, dying, grief and bereavement has the power to dispel social problems that can arise from a deeply felt personal loss. Problems such as social isolation, alcoholism, drug abuse, self-harm, depression and increased absenteeism in the workplace or school are often avoided when someone has a peer/colleague or neighbour to talk with.
We all have a responsibility to talk about death and dying, not only because we will have to face it ourselves one day, but also to support our family, friends, neighbours and colleagues in their time of loss. Yet how do we signal one another when we are willing and able to do so? Gone are the days of black dresses, veils and armbands. So how would anyone know you had lost a loved one unless you are willing to start the conversation? Additionally, how do you know if the person you wish to talk to about death is willing to listen?
At CEDAR we have developed the idea of the Green Leaf. By wearing a green leaf you are sending a signal of understanding and compassion, much like those who wear the red poppy to show empathy with those who have lost loved ones during war. This indicates you are willing to talk or listen to another person; or you have been bereaved yourself.
Why a green leaf?
The tree represents the community and a leaf represents a single member of that community. Once the leaf falls from the tree it is dying or dead. Yet, it is also a symbol of renewal. Once the leaf rots down it becomes mulch for new growth. Without it the forest would not survive. The green leaf is a symbol of life and death and hope for the future. Wear it when you want to open up to others or have them open up to you.
Help us develop this idea
Anyone can find and wear a green leaf to support good grief. You can make one of your own out of cloth; pull one from a tree; or use the CEDAR symbol shown here. We hope to make some CEDAR green leaves for our patrons and supporters in the near future. If you would like to submit a design or participate in our project please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: Green Leaf Project.
Give it a go and wear a green leaf today.