Memories are personal. Whether it’s simply speaking the name of your beloved one, holding a ceremony to honor his or her memory, or revisiting a favorite place or activity you shared, the key is to make and preserve connections. Here are a few ideas to help you strengthen cherished connections with someone you have loved and continue to love.
- Don’t hide the hardship – Loss is painful—that’s no secret. Some parts of grief have to be let out. Our grief needs to be observed by others. Says Donna O’Toole, a noted grief author, publisher, and teacher: “Grieving our losses does not disconnect us from life but rather, like invisible threads, the losses of our lives weave life unto life.”
- Keep your loved one’s finest qualities alive. This can be your ongoing gift to the one you love, and his or her ongoing gift to the world. “Imitation is the highest form of flattery,” goes the saying. The greatest lessons our loved ones have taught us can be beautifully and repeatedly shared. We pay great honor to our loved one’s finest qualities by trying to live and act on them in and through our own lives.
- Use simple ceremony and ritual. Ceremony and ritual are especially helpful for remembering our loved ones. “Whenever we experience a transition, happy or sad, a ceremony helps us recenter ourselves by making a symbolic statement about that change,” writes Lynda Paladin in Ceremonies for Change. Invent your own simple rituals, individually or together with family and close friends.
All that we know about those we have loved and lost is that they would wish us to remember them with more intensified realization of their reality. What is essential does not die but clarifies.
—Thornton Wilder, playwright
Excerpt from “Cherishing your Memories of a Loved One” from CareNotes