Monday, September 28, 2020

How to Honor a Loved One After They are Gone

How to Honor a Loved One After They are Gone

Dealing with loss is very tough, and everybody handles it differently. It’s never easy when someone you love passes away. It can be heartbreaking to remember all the times you had together, even if they were happy ones. However, it is important to remember those who have gone before us, in order to honor their memory and keep them with you wherever you go. Even though it can be painful, it is important for the healing process to actively honor a person after they have passed. So how can you honor them in positive ways that can help you through the grieving process? Here are some ways to honor their memory while helping you heal from the loss.


How to Honor a Loved One After They are Gone

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Normalize Speaking About The Person

Although when somebody close to you dies it can be very difficult to speak about them to others, in time, it is important that you normalize it. Talking with those who also knew them, or telling stories about them to a person who never met them, is very effective in helping you heal and share the wonderful things about that person even when they are gone. Speaking about someone who has passed helps them live on in the hearts and minds of others - even if that other person never met them in real life. 


How can you begin to normalize speaking about a late loved one? First, take your time. If this person has only recently passed away, it is completely normal to feel like it is too difficult to speak about them. Don't push yourself to do things you are not yet emotionally ready to do. However, over time, you may slowly begin to want to speak about them again. Perhaps you think of a funny anecdote you feel like sharing - don’t fight the feeling! Sharing stories about our loved ones gone by has been a tradition in many cultures around the world for hundreds of years. Try continuing it in your own way, honoring them by keeping them alive in your stories.


Normalize speaking TO them - if you want to

Even if you are not a religious person, you may have the urge to talk to your loved one who has passed on. This is very normal. All of a sudden you can’t talk to them in real life, but the urge to confide in them is still very strong. Many people feel worried or confused about the urge to talk to people who have recently passed. They might think they’re going crazy, or that they need to overcome this need to speak to the person they miss. However, this is a totally normal thing to do which can be healthy for you in the grieving process.


When loved ones leave us, there are always things we wish we had said to them. If you want to say them anyway, find a quiet place where you feel close to them; your bedroom, or the attic - or perhaps even a space outdoors such as the gravestone or their favorite nature walk - and say what you need to say. It might feel strange at first, but over time, it may genuinely help you with your grief, and cherish your relationship with that person even though they have passed on.


How to Honor a Loved One After They are Gone

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Taking a piece of them with you

Everyone knows about scattering ashes; it is a common practice for many families. However, there are other more innovative ways to take a piece of your loved one with you wherever you go. Ashes are a perfect substance to be made into jewelry or encapsulated in a locket, ring or bracelet. Cremation jewelry is becoming more widely available and can be custom made to suit you. This allows you to feel that your loved one is with you wherever you go, and maintain a special bond with them as you go about your life. Many people find this very comforting, and take great pride in honoring their loved ones in this way. I've also seen fingerprint jewelry that is really neat.


How to Honor a Loved One After They are Gone

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Knowing what to keep, and what to let go of

Sorting through the home and belongings of a recently passed away loved one can be painful. The touch, sight and smell of things that belonged to them can trigger powerful memories and emotions. This is completely normal for anyone going through a period of grief. It is also very common to have the urge to keep absolutely everything that ever belonged to this person, so as not to disrespect their memory. This can end up with a garage full of boxes of old clothes, shoes, ornaments and memorabilia. 


While it is crucial that you keep some things which are special to you, it is also okay to let go of the belongings of your loved one. After all, they would probably not want you to be holding onto boxes and boxes of things which don’t have much value to you, other than the fact they were once owned by that person. Try to think of what that person would want you to do, and attempt to honor that. I like to keep a few things that hold a special memory of a time with that person or that reminds me of that person. 



I hope you found these ideas and tips helpful as you look for ways to honor this special person, while trying to get over the loss at the same time. Saying your thoughts and feelings aloud, carrying them with you and letting go of some of their things can all help you on the road to being at peace with this loss you have experienced. Try some of these healing techniques while keeping the spirit of your loved one alive through stories, a few special items that remain close to your heart, and even having your own conversations with them. I wish you peace and love throughout your grieving process! 


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