I have struggled with grief every September since 2018 when my younger sister died, unexpectedly. There were things said during arguments that were never made right. There were distant silences and tumultuous feelings between us at times. But I loved my sister, Diana, and I thought that we would become grandmothers together one day. Being the eldest daughter, I had no expectation that I would outlive her.
I do not think grief ever really goes away. I think it stays with you for the remainder of your life, but I do think that it becomes easier to manage over time. Eventually, I think grief can give way to small acts of love that honor the spirit of your departed loved one.
Ways to Honor Departed Loved Ones
In the time since Diana’s death, I have considered ways to honor her spirit. It took some time, but I think focusing on honoring her spirit helps to prevent some of the more destructive aspects of grief.
Below are some ways to honor departed loved ones:
- Make a memory shrine- My daughters did this for our beloved Boston Terrier, Sophie who passed away in 2020.
- Buy a holiday ornament that your loved one would have picked out.
- Try a hobby your loved one enjoyed- My sister loved to make wreaths.
- Read a book that your loved one either wanted to read or enjoyed. I had bought my sister a Nook and she filled it with Nora Roberts and Danielle Steele titles that she enjoyed for years.
- Get a tattoo- On my right wrist, I have an autumn tree; it represents our favorite time of year-but also-the tree represents our motherhood.
- Try an activity or sport that your loved one wanted to do or enjoyed- I tried boxing and loved it! My sister was not a wimp.
- Donate to a charity in your loved one’s name- I plan to do this for a local humane society as rescuing animals was a passion of hers.
- Create an online memorial page and update it- I made this page on Legacy.com. I plan to update it with more pictures.
Honoring Departed Loved Ones Can Be Healthy
Honoring departed loved ones can be healthier than just focusing on their absence and the grief left behind. Sometimes grief can lead to self-destructive behaviors, like drinking too much alcohol, or being reckless. Grief can also lead to depression and despair.
Living a life of wellness involves actively working through grief so that it becomes constructive rather than destructive.
I hope these tips give you ideas on how to honor the spirit of your departed loved ones in a healthy and well way.
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