The air is cooler, the leaves are turning beautiful shades of gold and red, and pumpkins are everywhere. But as we notice these changes around us, we may also notice some uncomfortable feelings tugging at us from within, preventing us from being fully present. Sometimes with a change in seasons, we can have a real shift in our emotions and become more aware of feelings of loss that were previously just below the surface. During the last 19 months, some of us have unfortunately experienced the loss of someone dear to us. Have we really addressed these losses and tended to our grief? When we avoid our grief, it finds its way into our lives in unpredictable ways. Getting stuck in pain, guilt, and anxiety related to loss causes suffering. However, when we find a way to HONOR our loss, we open the door to the healing process, begin to let go of suffering, and increase joy and meaning in our present day lives. We begin to move THROUGH our grief.
HONORING A LOVED ONE
Grief is an extremely personal and unique process that should never be held to a timeline. Yet, it’s all too common to pressure ourselves or others may pressure us to “get over” loss or “move on.” Grief, however, is not something to “get over,” but something to MOVE THROUGH. When you are ready, in your own time, finding ways to honor your loved one, can help you move through the healing process, with less suffering, and strengthen your heart connection to your loved one. Sometimes, we unknowingly hang onto pain, guilt, or anxiety to stay connected to these special people. Exploring ways to uniquely HONOR them can begin to connect us in a new way with deep compassion and tenderness. HONORING them can be a public or private activity. When we intentionally choose to HONOR our loved one, we are engaging in our own unique healing journey, tending to our grief, and letting go of suffering.
HERE ARE 10 WAYS TO HONOR A LOVED ONE:
- Begin a unique daily ritual that says “I Love You” to this person, especially if you didn’t get a chance to before they died. Get creative here! Blow a kiss each morning getting out of bed.
- Change something about your lives for the better, something that connects you to them. Example: Dad loved his daily walk, so incorporate one in your day to connect with him and honor him.
- Continue or start a new tradition in someone’s honor. Example: Gather family for a special activity on Mom’s birthday to honor her.
- Dedicate yourself to a cause that connects you to your loved one. Example: Volunteer to walk a shelter dog once a week to honor that friend who loved her furry companions.
- Organize a celebration of life or memorial gathering, virtual or in person. Each step in the planning process will connect you to your loved one.
- Make a video or photo album or playlist documenting you loved one’s life.
- Explore a loved one’s family tree with online tools.
- Write a letter, poem, or song for your loved one. Find a special place to keep it and re-read it, sing it, or share it as needed!
- Plant a tree that will grow with each passing year or dedicate a park bench in their honor. Make a marker or sign and place nearby. Visit often!
- Enjoy a favorite food or recipe that your loved one enjoyed. Perhaps make it a regular occurrence and invite people to share in the experience.
These are just some examples of ways we can HONOR loved ones. The possibilities are endless! Consider getting family involved, including the kids. Spending time engaging, planning and thinking about these activities connects us to our loved ones who have died. This enables us to remember them with more love and more joy. Our deep love and our desire to connect to those we have lost continues for our lifetime and beyond. By HONORING them, we help ourselves move THROUGH our feelings of grief, sadness, and loss and can begin to let go of our suffering.