Do you ever struggle with how to come alongside someone who has lost a loved one?
I totally understand.
It can be awkward, uncomfortable…and even emotional. It can also be super meaningful and thoughtful.
This conversation is brought to you in partnership with Remembering A Life.
I always get a little bluesy in the fall. I LOVE the fall …but it’s also a very present reminder of what I’ve lost.
My brother’s birthday, my mom’s birthday AND her death date are all in November. It’s an annual reminder for me that half of my family is gone.
It’s also traditionally a time of year that focuses on everything that you are supposed to be grateful for…which can sometimes lead to a bittersweet reminder about what I’m also missing.
Holidays and birthdays are more on my mind but it’s also the little everyday moments when you can’t pick up the phone to call and you are missing the person in your life who wants to be your biggest cheerleader.
As time passes new fears come in…will I start to forget them?
How will I keep their memories alive in a way that honors them?
I have a few ways that I’ve found that help keep their memories alive and cope with the grieving process.
It’s important to remember that there isn’t a time expiration on grief.
I heard someone say that you don’t move on when you lose a loved one, you just have to move forward.
Making steps forward can feel painful and paralyzing at times.
A few things that I’ve found helpful are:
- Displaying Special Pictures
- Going Through Old Photos
- Meeting a friend for coffee that you can talk to about your loved one
- Watching old Movies of Your Loved One
- Writing Down Your Thoughts in a Journal
- Writing Down Your Favorite Memories of Your Loved One
My mom was an artist and painted up until a few weeks before she died. I have several of her paintings displayed throughout my house that helps me honor my mom.
The painting pictured above was a real vase and flowers that were given to her by someone who visited her while she was in hospice.
She painted it with her left hand when her dominant hand could not be used due to the excruciating pain from the bone cancer that spread throughout her right arm.
One of my favorite things that we did at my mom’s funeral was to ask people to share their favorite memories of my mom.
We put those papers in a binder and it was really nice to go through them when I wanted to keep her memory alive.
I learned so many things about my mom from people that I had never met before at her funeral who were inspired by her life in so many ways.
If you do something similar I recommend that you ask people to write it down on the spot because they tend to forget if they want to take it home and do it later and it’s so much more powerful for those left behind to have those words and stories to hold on to.
A Thoughtful Gift For Someone Who is Grieving
Meals and services are always thoughtful gifts to give when someone has lost a loved one.
I also appreciated and STILL remember the meaningful and thoughtful gifts that we received during those hard times.
It meant a lot to me that the gift giver had the foresight to give a gift that recognized the long road ahead in my grief process.
The journey definitely lasts way beyond the time between their death and the funeral.
People tend to be around right after someone dies but it’s really a gift to have people who lean in and check in on you regularly in the weeks, months, and anniversaries of special dates to come.
The Remembering A Life Self-care Box is the perfect resource for yourself or anyone in your life to help navigate the many stages of grief and keep the memory of a lost loved one, alive
The Remembering A Life Self-care Box
The items in this box were carefully selected to help the receiver find relaxation, reflect and remember.
How and when they use them is up to them – there is no “right” or “wrong” time.
The important thing is to use them when they are ready, whether that’s today, tomorrow, weeks or even months from now.
The grief journey will be difficult at times, but along the way, they will also discover opportunities for them to honor their loved one in unique and beautiful ways in tribute to the impact he or she had on the lives of others, and the indelible mark their loved one left on the world.
The Remembering A Life Self-care Box, which itself can also be used to hold mementos and other cherished items, retails for $50.
( You can purchase many of the items separately, but the best value is with the kit.)
The Remembering A Life Self-care Kit contains:
- Remembering A Life Grief Journal – Keeping a journal can help a grieving individual reflect on the life of a loved one, the relationship they shared and the impact he or she had on family and friends. (Also sold separately for $15.)
- Memory Jar – Life is full of many special times and experiences. Those memories can be jotted down on small pieces of paper and placed in the Remembering A Life Memory Jar. (Also sold separately for $10.)
- Candle – This pear-and-redwood-scented candle can be lit and enjoyed when an individual misses a loved one most, or to mark a special day, such as a birthday, holiday or another significant moment. (Also sold separately for $10.)
- Essential Oil Roller – Aromatherapy can heighten feelings of healing, relaxation, and mindfulness. This roller features the calming scents of lavender, orange, and sweet marjoram. (Also sold separately $10.)
- Dragonfly Keychain and Story – The story of the dragonfly and its rebirth is one of hope and comfort. This keychain can be used as a reminder that a loved one is still present in spirit.
- Rose Quartz Stone – Called the “Crystal of Unconditional Love,” rose quartz carries a soft feminine energy of compassion and peace; tenderness and healing; nourishment and comfort. It can be kept in a pocket or purse as a reminder of an individual’s unconditional love for their loved one.
- Water Bottle – Staying hydrated is always important. Using the Remembering A Life water bottle at home or on the go helps ensure a person is drinking enough water throughout the day. (Also sold separately for $5.)
Additional Resources Available from RememberingALife.com
• RememberingALife.com helps individuals and families beautifully memorialize a life well-lived. Whether a death has just occurred or an individual and their family wishes to plan in advance.
• RememberingALife.com offers guidance on where to begin the planning process, the kinds of decisions that they will make and the many options available to make a tribute personal and meaningful.
• In addition to helpful information about planning a meaningful service, RememberingALife.com offers other useful information, such as resources to help people understand their own and others’ grief and loss, and a helpful online search tool to find a compassionate NFDA-member funeral director nearby.
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