It is common for a grieving person to find that other people will be hesitant to talk about their lost loved one; this can heighten the sadness that a bereaved person feels about the passing of their cherished loved one as they worry that their loved one’s life will be forgotten.
Getting Affairs In Order
Also, a death requires that certain difficult tasks be taken care of, such as removing the person’s name from checkbooks, legal documents, bank accounts, etc. Consequently, a bereaved person can feel as though his or her loved one is being “deleted” and may also worry that they will soon forget them. It is for these reasons that it is especially important to keep the memories of our loved ones alive by celebrating special days.
Remembering Loved Ones On Special Days
While remembering our loved ones on special days (i.e. birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, etc) is important, these days can also be difficult ones for the grieving person. Of course, special days can elicit good memories; however, they can also remind us that our loved one is no longer with us. Yet, these special days also provide us with unique opportunities to remember the positive experiences that we shared with our loved one. These days enable us to talk about, think about, and honor the person we lost. Additionally, special days allow us to invite other people to celebrate our loved one so that we can all remember this very important person together. There is no right or wrong way to honor a loved one. The most important thing is to make sure that you celebrate the way you want to, in a way that is meaningful for you.
Here are Some Points to Take into Consideration:
- Where and when will I do this?
- Will I do this privately or will I invite others?
- Will this be its own event or will I honor my loved one within another event?
- What do I hope to get out of this celebration?
- What memories, sentiments, or values of my loved one will I be honoring?
- For a public event: will this be a planned or spontaneous event? Will there be a reading, informal sharing of memories, and/or symbolic action?
- or a private event: will I be giving a donation? Establishing a fund in the name of my loved one? Dedicating a memorial? Providing a service in the name of my loved one?
Some Sample Ideas for a Celebration:
- Visit and/or bring flowers to the cemetery.
- Do something that your loved one once enjoyed doing.
- Visit you and your loved ones’ favorite places.
- Make something, like a stuffed animal or blanket, from your loved one’s clothes.
- Frame a favorite photograph of your loved one for family gifts.
- Hold a celebration with your family and friends. Share memories of your loved one, eat his or her favorite foods, share a toast, etc.
- Light a candle in remembrance on a special day.
- Write down all the ways in which your loved one enhanced your life and continues to do so.
- Dedicate a park bench or memorial brick in your loved one’s name.
- Donate flowers to your place of worship or arrange for remembrance of your loved one at a religious service.
- Establish a memorial fund or scholarship in your loved one’s name.
- Honor your loved one by volunteering to an organization, donating your time to a person in need, or donating to your loved one’s favorite charity.
- Place a special object or plant a garden in your loved one’s favorite space.
- Donate materials for worship and/or education in your loved one’s name.
However you choose to celebrate, be sure to honor your loved one in a way that feels right to you. Always remember that your loved one lived and continues to matter in your life.