How to Honor the Memory of a Deceased Loved One
Forever in Our Memories
While we are all unique individuals, there is one thing we all have in common: death. Yes, the unfortunate end to a life of a loved one. Once we have experienced death, we are forever changed. Whether we lost a friend, family member, school teacher, classmate or even a pet, we are never the same again. Death challenges us to grow, to learn, to wonder.
Death might take away someone we have cared for but it could never take away our memories. We will always have those precious moments to cherish. We never want to forget those memories so we might replay them often in our minds. We might decide to journal them. We also might choose to create a mural of photos to display and view daily.
No matter how we choose to remember our loved ones, the important aspect here is to celebrate their lives instead of mourning their deaths. If you stop and think about it, would your loved one want you sad? Would they want you to stop living? Would they want you to spend the rest of your days with an aching heart? Chances are more than likely that they would want you to be happy and begin your new normal.
So Many Firsts After The Death of a Loved One
After we lose a loved one, we move around in a fog. We remain in the haze until it slowly ascends. Trust me, the fog will eventually vanish. You will not be in the haze forever, unless you choose to be. We are understandably devastated beyond belief. Unless one has walked in the shoes of another who has grieved they would never understand the pain one suffers while in mourning.
So much that needs to get done. So much change. So many firsts. So many firsts. Yes, I repeated myself on purpose. Why? Because there are so many firsts! For myself, those were the most trying times.
The first month after losing a loved one is the most difficult time. The first day after they are gone, after you arise and realize they aren't there to speak with, to hug, to laugh with, is so extremely agonizing. Nothing or no one could ease the pain, except for you. When you are ready, when you are able to allow your heart to lead the way. The heart never steers you wrong.
We could choose to meet those firsts with a somber heart or with a positive mind. We could choose to honor our loved one's memory in a meaningful way or we could choose to turn a blind eye to the firsts. We could accept our new normal or we could fight the change and instead bask in gloom.
No one can make these decisions, but yourself. No one can physically force you, but there are those who could gently guide you. Those gentle guiders are the ones you need to have in your life. Do not push them away, they are guiding you because they truly care.
Ways to Celebrate the Memory of Those You Loved and Lost
There are many ways to honor the memories of the deceased.
Whether it is the first month since they have departed or the first year. Or the first birthday or first holiday. Possibly it's the birth of a first grandchild or the first game of the new football season.
No matter what the first is, you could find a way to celebrate the lives of those you lost and make them a part of the day. Like I said, the firsts are endless, but allow your heart to lead you and chances are you will flourish with your remembrance and you might begin to heal a little bit sooner.
We know that even though our loved ones are not physically present, they are still with us. They never truly leave us.
Some Ways to Celebrate Your Loved Ones Are...
- The date of death is automatically embedded in our mind. We never forget that date. As each month rolls by, we count one month, two months, three months etc...how about doing something special on that day each and every month? Whether listening to their favorite music or you could prepare their favorite meal for yourself and a friend. Maybe watch their favorite movie. Sure, the tears may sting your cheeks, but crying reduces stress.
- Honoring your loved on the first year, the "It feels like it has been way more than one year" date, doesn't have to be a sad day. Surely you made many memories while you were together, why not continue on with those memories, by making new memories...each year.
- On the first Christmas you could choose to bypass the holiday or you could celebrate their memory by donating a meal to a family in need. You could continue on with this new tradition for each Christmas thereafter.
- For the first wedding after the death of a parent, you could attach a photo of them to the bouquet of flowers or cut a heart out of a piece of their clothing and attach it to your wedding attire.
- For their first birthday, you could have their favorite cake and eat it too. Have an extra slice. Spend time that day looking at photos and videos and reminiscing over the good memories. Feel as if they are there with you and beaming with pride. This doesn't apply just for the first birthday, make it a yearly tradition.
are not forever
are not the end;
it simply means
I'll miss you,
Until we meet again
More Ways to Celebrate Your Loved Ones
- For the first time a baby is born, celebrate your loved one by giving the baby a version of their name. Or even just use their initials. Be creative.
- For the first time you need a hug, wear a piece of their clothing. Granted, this doesn't apply in all cases, since that wouldn't be possible, but there are ways to work around this. Sew a few articles of their clothing together and make a blanket of sorts. If you can't sew, have someone make this for you. As long as you are able to wrap the memento around your shoulders until you feel a sense of peace, that is all that matters. Hugs are good for the soul.
- For the first time you really, really need to speak with them, write them a letter. Keep on writing until your letter becomes a journal and then possibly a book. Share your thoughts, your distress, your agony, your heartache. Celebrate their life with memories that you want to keep alive. By expressing your thoughts this could lead to healing and moving on with your life.
- Keep in mind that moving on with your life doesn't mean that you will forget your loved one. That will never, ever, ever happen. You just learn to adjust to your new normal and take them along with you each and every day. You carry your loved one in your heart. They are still with you, they always will be.
Positive Thoughts Help in the Healing Process
I have walked the walk many times which entitles me to talk the talk. During my lifespan I have lost many loved ones: brothers, parents, stepdad and most recently, my husband.
After the loss of a loved one, there will be bad days. Then a few good days sneak up on you. Then come the bad days again. But some more good ones. When the good days begin to outweigh the bad days you will realize that you are slowly, but surely beginning to heal.
I have often been asked, how do I have a positive outlook after all the loss that I have lived through? I tell them that I always think of those who have had to endure losses that were more heartbreaking and those people inspired me. I hope I have inspired you.
There are many more ways to celebrate your loved ones. The ideas I suggested are just some ways to honor your loved one's memory and it is now up to you to explore other ways. I do hope that you share your ideas with us in the comment section below.
One day at a time...it's the only way.
Tears in Heaven - Eric Clapton
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© 2015 Linda Bilyeu
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