In talking to families from Endicott over the years, many have described how grief has a tendency to “sneak in” after losing a loved one. Our staff at Allen Memorial Home can relate. Something as simple as hearing a particular song on the radio or coming across a memento from the past can automatically bring feelings of sadness or nostalgia to the surface.
During our many decades helping families plan a funeral, cremation, or burial, we understand how important it is to walk through grief instead of around it. We understand how it feels when the rest of the world seems to move on after a death – while your life has been turned upside down. This is why it’s so important to keep a loved one’s memory alive.
Taking time to remember that special person is a healthy step and a meaningful way to honor their legacy. We do recommend that you join others when paying tribute, as opposed to doing so on your own. Grieving involves many different emotions, and it’s important to have support available as you’re reminded of your loss.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to honor a loved one even after they’re gone.
- Support a charity they believed in. Maybe your dad was an active volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, or your aunt spent her Saturday mornings at the Humane Society. Giving your time or money is a beautiful way to commemorate their life. You could also participate in a sponsored event that raises awareness and funds for a cause they held dear.
- Visit your loved one’s favorite restaurant. Sometimes, during the days and months following a death, it’s easier to avoid going to the places your friend or family member enjoyed. Being there without them is simply too painful. But with a little time, you may find sharing memories around a familiar table is exactly what you need to celebrate why that person meant so much to so many.
- Look through your loved one’s photos and treasures. Sorting through the belongings of someone who died can be one of the most painful parts of saying goodbye. But in the years following their death, healing can occur when you take time to reminisce. Gather friends and family to page through photo albums or tell stories about the items you have held onto.
- Bring a picnic to their final resting place. Whether your loved one is buried at a cemetery, or you scattered their cremated remains at a meaningful location, gathering to share memories and a meal is a special way to remember them. We’ve heard from many families who also incorporate a balloon release, sometimes writing a note to their loved one on the balloon itself. This is an opportunity to express words previously unsaid, and release feelings of grief as the balloon floats away.
- Write a letter or take photographs to convey your thoughts and feelings. Whether you choose to share this with family, post on social media, or keep it to yourself, communicating your inner thoughts is a therapeutic approach to managing complex emotions. Memories change from year to year after someone dies and capturing them in writing or photos brings healing in the years ahead.
If you would like to learn more about the grieving process, check out our Guiding Grief Interactive Online Help. As always, our professional staff is here to answer questions and offer support day or night. Reach out to us any time.