By • 3 August 2020
When a loved on passes away, you want to honor that person and keep his memory alive forever. You want to preserve the precious memories you have of this person. If you want to remember a loved one, there are ways to do it to honor the departed and also help you cope with grief.
While mourning the death of a loved one is often associated with sadness, Kathryn Britton, a teacher of positive workplace concepts at the University of Maryland, says that mourning is an “oscillation between sadness and other emotions, often positive ones including love, humor, curiosity, and awe.”
Think of the moments you remembered a deceased loved one. It often evokes feelings other than sadness. Quirky moments and happy memories can make you laugh. The times when you’ve endured a trial together elicit awe and admiration for the human strength and spirit. Special events like weddings or the birth of a child intensify love.
There are a number of occassions that you can remember a loved one. This could be on their birthday or a memoriam on their date of passing. Alterntively it may not be a specific occasion, it may just be because you feel like it.
Remembering a Loved One on an occasion
When the the date of passing or birthday of a lost loved one approaches, you automatically remember that person. The loss becomes a bittersweet memory as you recall the life lived with memories of how you celebrated birthdays and life together while they were alive. Now that the person has passed away, how do you remember them on this occasion?
Jennifer Lea Reynolds tells readers on Huffington Post how she used to find the phrase silly as there was no point in dwelling in sadness and prolonging a life that no longer existed. But with the death of her father, she developed a new appreciation for thoughts of would have been’s, as she discovered their “bittersweet splendor.”
If you find yourself thinking of what life "would have been" like if they were still alive, embrace it. Occasions of the deceased can also bring happy memories and bittersweet feelings. These occasions also give you the opportunity to honor the person and keep beautiful memories alive.
Here are 9 ways to remember a loved one who has passed away and help keep your memories of them alive.
Go to the places that the deceased loved to visit when he or she was still alive. Take a walk or take a moment to recapture the things the person enjoyed doing in these places. You can also practice mindfulness exercises here to help you calm feelings of stress and anxiety that may go with grief.
Yes, you can name a star after a person. The International Star Registry records the star’s name and publishes it in a listing of named stars in the world. It will remind you of your loved one every time you look up at the twinkling stars in the night sky.
If the deceased left unfinished projects or advocacies, you can continue working on these and aim to finish what he or she had started. Similarly, if you are aware of their bucket list, you can also go through that and tick off what has not yet been completed on their list. Explore their hobbies, too.
A memorial page or an online memorial helps you compile photos, stories, and other mementos of the deceased. It’s similar to how a social media page functions as friends and other people in the deceased’s life can also contribute their own memories and messages. It’s a great way to collectively celebrate the life of the person. You can also create a scrapbook of his or her life. Find out more about creating an online memorial page here.
Have a memorial table in your home with the deceased’s photos or favorite things. This special place in your home doesn’t always have to be a table in your living room or spare room. It can also be in your garden, where you can plant flowers or a tree to remind you of the person. It can also be a wall where you can hang their pictures or paint a mural. If the person loved reading, you can have a shelf filled with all of his or her favorite books.
You can visit their grave or organize a simple yet meaningful event for a gathering at your loved one's grave. It can be a reunion of family and friends as you visit the grave together. You can bring flowers or things that the late loved one used to like while he or she was still alive. You can place these things around the person’s grave. You can also organize a simple program with speeches, readings or prayers.
There’s something about releasing balloons that’s comforting and uplifting. Symbolically, it helps you let go. It also consoles you as you believe the balloons will reach the person who passed away. However, environmental advocates are encouraging people to discontinue the practice of releasing balloons as these can contribute to pollution and harm wildlife.
Light a candle on the day of the deceased’s birthday. This can be done at gravesite, at your home, or at the church. If you have a memorial table or space at home, you can place the candle there.
Spend time with the family or get to know the friends of the deceased. A lunch or dinner organized for the deceased is a special way to remember his birthday. Buy a cake and serve dishes or treats that your loved one was fond of during his or her lifetime. Write a birthday message on the person’s Facebook wall or online memorial book.
Death should not stop you from celebrating your late loved one’s birthday. Mark the person’s birthday as a special event for you to remember all the love and joy he or she brought into your life.