The passing of a loved one is always a difficult time which brings up a whole myriad of emotions. No-one can prepare you for it and no two people will experience exactly the same set of emotions. Time is undoubtedly one of the greatest healers, but there are also other thoughtful little ways that will help you to remember a loved one with a feeling of warmth and even positivity for a life that was lived to the full.
1. A Memory book
Part of the healing process is dealing with the grief head on. Making a memory book with photos, cards and mementoes can be hard and bring emotions to the absolute surface, but it can also be cathartic, and when the book is finished you feel you can see light at the end of the tunnel, as well as having a beautiful object to revisit whenever you feel the need.
2. Plant a tree
Planting a tree is one of the most permanent ways of remembering, with its long life that is likely to outlive us all. It also mirrors emotions such as new beginnings, growth, changing emotions as different seasons bring on changes, and is somewhere to visit too.
3. Keepsake box
Getting rid of treasured items can be a tricky process, so a keepsake box helps by letting you keep those most treasured and personal items. It is also something that is very symbolic of the person who has passed away, and something to show future generations.
4. Lighting a candle on birthdays
Remembering the day of birth, and not the day of death, is a good way to focus on the positive aspects of life. Lighting a candle is hugely symbolic, and in churches and cathedrals is a way of demonstrating that the person is far from forgotten.
5. Playing a favourite song
Music is always a great mood enhancer, so playing songs that bring back happy memories can turn the darkest of days into the warmest of emotions.
6. Name a star
Naming a star or something similar gives a reminder of the person forever more. It is also a good way of helping young children get their head around the fact that someone they were once with is no longer there. The thought of a loved one in heaven looking down and keeping you safe and secure is hugely reassuring to younger people.
7. Create an item of jewellery
If the loved one is someone you were very close to, buying a piece of memorial jewellery as a gift from them to you is a very special and personal tribute. Even better, if you personalise the item, for example with initials or a message, than your loved one is always with you and as close as they can possibly be.
8. Unique memory
Often a memory can seem insignificant to others but mean the world to you. Even something as seemingly innocuous as using a tea-towel that belonged to them is a very touching and beautiful tribute. Go with what you feel is right for you.
9. A symbolic gesture at their favourite place
Was there a place that meant the world to them, or is there somewhere where something important but happy happened? Visiting it and placing something there, or saying a few words, is similar to having a headstone but perhaps without the formality. This can suit people who do not choose to mark the passing of a loved one in the traditional manner.
10. Imagine they are still with you
Intentionally left until last, maybe the most beautiful of all tributes is to just spend a minute every day to think about them and them only, with memories that bring a smile to your face. They may be gone, but never, ever forgotten.