Grief is very personal, but too often other push you to let go and move on in life after someone you love dies. For those maintaining a connection with deceased love ones, this can cause self-confidence. There is a theory, the continuing bonds theory of grief, that teaches that you simply have to find a new way to bond with your loved one after death, not just let them go.
The list below will help you bond in unique ways, even if they are not physically with you any longer:
Talking to a loved one you lost is not crazy, it is comforting. Most people who are grieving will talk to the loved one they lost because it is comforting. Some may feel a bit crazy doing so, but this is a common way to continue a relationship with the person you are missing most.
Journaling, typing, or actual writing of letters is a great way to continue a connection to a loved one. Whether you post the letters online, destroy them after writing or keep them tucked away somewhere safe, this can be a way to speak to your loved one. There are online resources to help and even places to privately write the letters.
Though some people may encourage you to remove all proof that someone existed after their death, this is not necessary. Keep photos of you and your loved one around to remember the good times and moments shared together. Loved ones influence our lives, even after they are gone, let them keep their place.
Losing a loved one right before a big life event or a holiday can be horrible and make the event difficult to enjoy without that person. Get creative and include your loved one in unique ways, such as an empty chair with a special note at a wedding or an extra seat at holiday meals to include your loved one. Discuss this with family members to see what ideas you can come up with to honor your loved one.
If a big decision arises and the person you would normally discuss it with has passed on, it can be overwhelming. Sit down and imagine a conversation with them, focusing on what advice they would give. This can help you to feel connected, but also to remember the lessons they shared.
Share About Them
As new people come into your life, share about your lost loved one. This allows those who never met the person or who did not know you before to share in the joy that you had around the person you lost. Sharing stories and photos makes this easier to share the person’s legacy.
Make Them Proud
Though your loved one may not be around anymore, you can honor them by living a life that they would be proud of if they could tell you. This helps keep us connected even when the person cannot be there for the big milestones.
Your loved one may have been involved in a project or volunteer activity, if they were you can pick up where they left off. Whether it is coaching soccer, building a boat, or finishing a painting, this can keep you close to your loved one as you complete what they were unable to in life. This continues their legacy.
Though it may be bittersweet, take a trip your loved one always wanted to take, but never made it. Make the stops and visit the spots that they would have and enjoy the time doing something they dreamed of while alive. This can be meaningful and healing for so many.
Though some may find it weird, Facebook now lets you request a memorialization page if you want to keep your loved one’s page going. This can allow those who want to stay connected have a place to leave messages and announcements.
Take a risk and try something new by adopting a hobby your loved one enjoyed, but you did not share. Learn to garden, volunteer, or take up woodworking, whatever they loved, give it a try. This can help you feel closer and connected.
A Dear photograph is one that is taken from the past and captured in the present as a way to remind us of the impact loved ones still have, even after their death.
Even if others have seemingly moved on, if you want to plan something on the anniversary of your loved one’s death, then do so. It can be a large event for everyone or something just for you and a few close friends or even a personal ritual, no matter what if you wish to plan something, never fear doing so.
Though it can be difficult to choose just one or two things, keep a few meaningful items that belonged to your loved one. Whether they gave you the item or owned it at some time, you can often find comfort in having the item close. This works for many, but may cause others to become overwhelmingly sad, do what is best in your personal experience.
Comfort foods are not necessarily those deep fried, snack foods that people choose when they are stressed, but your loved one’s favorite food or recipe that you could try to recreate and enjoy.
Feel Their Presence
When you are close to someone who dies, you may feel their presence long after they are gone. This can ease the sadness and grief over time as you see a bird or feel the breeze or see a specific butterfly that reminds you that they are still with you in this life.
There are so many ways to honor and remember loved ones. Find the ones that work for you to honor your loved one without becoming overwhelmingly sad. It is okay to find joy after a loved one dies, they would not want you to suffer.