Five ways to celebrate important days after a loved one has passed away

When someone we love dies, no holiday, birthday or other significant event is ever the same. Every celebration can trigger memories that may make us miss that special person, and feel sad about their absence around a table that was meant to be full.

Even though it may be easier to avoid thinking about a deceased loved one, this is not conducive to dealing with our grief properly. Of course, nothing can change the fact that a loved one has died, but it’s also useful to remember that once, they lived, and were an integral part of our daily lives.

Here are five ways to remember a family member or loved one on important days:

Display photos of your loved one

As much as you might long for them to be there in person, displaying photos makes it feel as though a deceased family member, spouse or friend is still a part of the celebration. When other friends or family see the photos, you’ll be sure to start sharing memorable stories about the person who has passed away – something that can be very healing to do.

Write down the most cherished memories you have of them

Birthdays can be especially difficult for people who have lost someone close to them. Writing down the most cherished memories you have of them will not only give you a place to vent and to commemorate a loved one, but it also ensures that you don’t forget the special things you shared with them.

Light a candle in their memory

A simple act like lighting a candle at Christmas, on their birthday, on the anniversary of their passing and other significant days, can have a calming effect and serve as a reminder of the person you have lost.

Spend time somewhere you feel close to them

Was your late wife an avid gardener? Did you and your friend regularly go and watch live cricket matches? You may honour their life by spending time in a place that makes you feel close to someone who has passed away, instead of sitting at home and lamenting their death. While grieving is healthy and necessary, it can also soothe us to think of good times past.

Look through their belongings

Some people may opt to keep all their loved one’s belongings just the way they were before that person died. If you have kept a family member’s belongings, special days are a good time to look through those items and think of them. Perhaps, if you’re feeling up to it, you may even decide to donate some clothes and other items to charity in a gesture of letting go. Whatever you choose, touching and looking at things that used to belong to someone you love can help you to remember interesting stories and times you enjoyed with them.

Should you be in need of counselling, as part of our palliative care services, HospiceWits offers grief counselling for bereaved families.

To learn how you can donate goods to HospiceWits charity shops in Kensington, Parkmore and Orange Grove, click here.