When a loved one tragically passes away, it can feel like the end of the world for those left behind. Dealing with loss isn’t a discussion often had, and it’s not a topic that many people feel confident in talking about. But it is a hugely important for those going through it, and one which everyone will experience within their lifetime. The experience can be lonely, and it’s usually made even worse by the fact that a lot of people simply don’t know how to start a dialogue with someone who has been bereaved, and will even go to the lengths of avoiding them out of awkwardness. Of course, this only serves to make the person grieving feel more isolated, exactly when they need the most support.
This difficult, but often undiscussed, situation can be doubly tough if you don’t have the tools to work through grief. Mourning for someone is definitely a process – and one that no-one can put a time limit on. People who have lost a loved one often talk about it in terms of learning to live with the pain, rather than it being something that goes away. And I agree.
There are of course steps you can take to help you process your negative emotions and work through what you feel, and it can be helpful as you do so to find ways of remembering the person you have loved and lost.
Being able to create memories can be a hugely important part of the mourning process, so consider what you could do once you feel ready to express yourself. When the focus of arranging a funeral is over, and you feel ready, creating a lasting memorial can be helpful. It gives you a tangible connection to the person you have lost, and provides a way of feeling close to those we can no longer see or speak to.
Create A Memorial Seat
If there’s a special view, a place in nature or a walk you used to take together, dedicating a memorial bench is a lovely way to remember someone you loved. It draws on a base of shared memories and provides a location you can go to when you need to remember that person. Your bench can feature a plaque or carving with an inscription, naming or commemorating that person, sharing a memory or containing a special piece of verse, a passage from a book they loved or song lyrics that remind you of them.
Cherish A Piece Of Clothing
In life, our clothes are a tool of self-expression. If your loved one had a favorite garment – perhaps a treasured dress or an old sweater – there are ways to use this piece of clothing to provide a lasting link to them after their passing. You can even have a memory bear made using fabric stitched together from a patchwork of their favorite items. This simple but effective idea is especially lovely to help children who have lost someone dear. They can cuddle with the bear and remember the person they loved so much in life. The same principle could also apply to anything soft and squidgy really – from a cushion to a quilt. Equally, a much-loved item of clothing can be preserved and framed.
Create A Memory Box
If you have lots of treasured artifacts from your time with that person, you could consider creating a memory box. In it, you can place all sorts of things – letters and cards you exchanged, old photographs, memorabilia like concert tickets and small souvenirs, pressed flowers and other little tokens. This approach is especially lovely because there is always something new to rediscover or a different memory to recall depending on what you pull out of the box.
Get A Piece Of Jewelry Made
If you feel like carrying your loved one close to you, memorializing them with a piece of jewelry is a great way to hold them close with something portable that you can carry around wherever you go. Sites like Memorials.com can even help you to incorporate the ashes of a family member into an elegant piece of jewelry that you can wear and love forever, and pass down through generations.
Plant Something Green
A connection to the living world is a huge source of comfort for many, so it can be a really nice idea to plant a tree or a shrub in memory of a lost loved one. This gives a beautiful connection to the world as well as a place you can go to enjoy some quiet time and remember that person.
Have you honored a lost loved one in a way you found to be especially helpful to your grieving process? If you’re comfortable, I’d love to hear about it below. Sending all my love to anyone hurting or mourning a loss. xoxo