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How to Honor the Memory of a Deceased Loved One

Updated on October 18, 2015
Sunshine625 profile image

Linda (Kaywood) Bilyeu is a self-published author. Her books are available on Amazon. She writes from the heart—there is no other way.

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.

Guiding Hands
Guiding Hands | Source

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.

Peace Lily
Peace Lily | Source

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.

Goodbyes

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.

One day at a time - Greeting Cards
One day at a time - Greeting Cards | Source

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

Do you celebrate your deceased loved ones?

See results

© 2015 Linda Bilyeu

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    • rdsparrowriter profile image

      rdsparrowriter 

      2 years ago

      I miss my father mostly and this is helpful. I still wear my father's t-shirts and having a hard time letting go of his books and toy cars... I hope you are well. Take care and may God Bless you!!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      3 years ago from California

      I miss my dad--but have wonderful memories of him--so smiles all around

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Amen, Surabhi!

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I'm sorry Audrey for making you sad, I hope positive memories came rushing in to make you smile :)

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Hi Sha, I take the good days with the bad and I have learned to appreciate when I have more good days and less bad ones. Keeping their memory alive is very important for all involved. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • profile image

      Surabhi Kaura 

      3 years ago

      Death keeps no calender. It is an imperishable seed. Thanks for sharing the positive side of mourning. Blessings.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      3 years ago from California

      Oh this made me cry and think about my father--I miss him all the time--sweet Linda--Bless you!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      3 years ago from Central Florida

      Linda, thank you for sharing the positive side of mourning. Initially, the pain is excruciating, but it gets better. Once we get over that initial shock, celebrating their lives and the impact they had on ours is the perfect way to keep the memories alive.

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Hi Flourish, Planting a tree is a thoughtful idea. I have two gardenia bushes blooming in my yard in memory of my mother and husband. It is the thought that matters most.

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Interesting, I never heard of All Soul's Day, but I see that you also believe in more celebrating and less mourning the deceased...even if it is so difficult at times. Thanks for your comment, I do appreciate it.

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Happy Wednesday eve, Effer! I always appreciate when you visit! It's been a busy and productive week so far. I think. Thank you for thinking of me. I heart you!

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Hi Vellur, The new normal can be quite a challenge at times.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      3 years ago from USA

      Lovely ideas that we will all need at one point. In the past, I've enjoyed planting a tree in the name of a loved one's memory and watched it grow (taller than the house now, changing colors through the seasons). My heart is with you, dear Linda.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 

      3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      To answer your question, Do you celebrate your deceased loved ones? Yes, you see back home (Philippines), we commemorate the dead every year on All Soul's Day-- that's nationwide every 2nd day of November. So, it is soon. It's quite a festival and it's huge. However, I've been away for so long now and so, I have my own way of remembering and celebrating them and I don't wait for Nov 2...usually, I celebrate them on their birthdays. I'd bake cake in their memory and on November 2 since I'm unable to visit their graves, I'd light a candle and say a prayer for them.

      I like your cheery disposition and I'm taking that for inspiration.

      Love from the sky~

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Good Morning Sunshine. Have a pleasant & productive Tuesday. Or a lazy, relaxing one....You choose! :)

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      3 years ago from Dubai

      Great ideas for honoring loved ones who have passed on. It is difficult to get used to the new normal, a world without the one whom you have loved and cared for. Hope you are doing fine, take care.

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I appreciate your feedback, Reynold.

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      The new normal takes getting adjusted to, but we do manage. Thank you for your thoughts, Denise.

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      So true, drbj. So true. They are always in our hearts.

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thank you, MM for your feedback on Team Cap's book and for your years of support! XO

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      This on the heels of just reading your latest book on Team Cap's Journey, I am in total awe of your resiliency and carrying on the legacy of the man you love so much.

      This hub is helpful and hopeful - like you.

      Love, MM

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      Happy to see you here again, Linda. I have always believed that the loved ones we lose are never entirely gone as long as we think of them fondly and often and remember the good memories. That's what I do.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. For those who have not had many losses, the moments between the good times are long and difficult. It is good to know that they will not last forever, that we will see ourselves eventually moving on and making new memories.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 

      3 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      Thank you for all the encouraging thoughts to help us get through one of the tribulations that we all experience. Well done.

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thank you, Deb!

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      You weren't wrong, Tills. We all have our moments, I just prefer the positive outlook on life :)

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 

      3 years ago from Iowa

      Wonderful suggestions, Linda. I know you are honoring Dave's memory every day. You are an inspiration.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      3 years ago from New York

      So glad you are back writing, and oh what writing it is. Sharing your first hand writing and Sunshine is so inspirational.

      When I first read your hubs, a few years back, I thought "this gal can't be this happy all the time", but I was wrong. You certainly are Sunshine! God bless and thanks for sharing such wonderful ideas.

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Amen, Rebecca!

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Blessings, Linda. I love your suggestion list for honoring our loved ones who pass, and I admire your attitude. No, they wouldn't want us to be sad and gloomy all the time!

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Thank you, Nell Rose. Your words mean alot.

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Hi SAA, That is exactly what I am doing...being an excellent example for my Chickies. They were such a huge support with Team Cap, while I am sorry they had to go through that, they did learn from the experience. Thank you!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      3 years ago from England

      Hi Linda, you are amazing and a great inspiration. it is so hard and sad but we do get there in the end, wonderful words, nell

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      3 years ago from South Africa

      Dear Linda, you just keep on being an excellent example for all of us. Your children must be so proud of you. One day, I know, I'm going to follow the fantastic example you have set.

      You are always somewhere in my mind. Take care!

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      HI SFAM, I know you could so relate. We have loved and lost...so, so many times. Love you!

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Absolutely PS, there is always a way. I appreciate the angels! :)

    • Sunshine625 profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Bilyeu 

      3 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Hi Glimmer, I hope you never do lose a loved one, but chances are we all will. Thanks for stopping by.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      My dear SFAM....You are definitely on a roll, back at the work of writing! I love this hub. You know we think alike, GF. Celebrating the life of those who have gone before us, is the best way to keep their memory alive and to comfort us as well.

      You did a wonderful job on this, as you always do. 2 thumbs up!!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      3 years ago from sunny Florida

      The line I connect to the most here is ....

      No matter what...."... you could find a way to celebrate the lives ...make them a part of the day.

      For sure...celebrating the life of those we adore is such a powerful way to find our way back to our lives.

      You so carefully have illustrated how we can honor those who leave this realm...

      Angels are on the way to you this morning...blessings are on the way on the wings of those very same Angels. ps shared

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      3 years ago

      These are wonderful ideas Linda. I always find it difficult to think of ways to remember someone, maybe because I have been fortunate that I have not yet lost anyone extremely close to me. This is very helpful.

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