As I work with and speak to those who’ve recently lost a beloved, their #1 fear is they believe they must forget this person who died to get better.
They don’t want to forget.
They also fear that others will.
They worry that letting go of their grief will also mean letting go of so many other things related to their beloved.
Nothing can be farther from the truth.
Holding onto love, not letting go of love, leads to healing.
By remembering, your loved one continues to exist.
It’s possible to incorporate your beloved’s spirit into your life in unique ways and activities to keep his or her memory close and continue the bond of love.
For example, if you spent a lot of time with your deceased mother doing “girl” things, could you spend more time with friends talking, shopping or going out to lunch?
If your father died, perhaps you can spend time with an uncle doing things you liked to do with your father, such as fishing, hunting or watching sports.
By doing the past things you did with the deceased, you are moving towards healing rather than away.
We must say hello to our grief, before we say good-bye. And of course, love always remains as the pain lessens.
As we descend into our grief, this is how we transcend it.
Do you miss your beloved’s passion about a certain cause? Do you want to be an inspiration like your loved one was? Could you follow in his or her footsteps?
Consider how you can incorporate some of his or her special traits, distinct qualities, or favorite activities into your everyday life.
You can keep your hearts connected through your legacy of love.
By remembering, you will never forget…
As you heal and do the hard work of mourning, good memories will gently soothe you as your pain lessens. You will relish those memories as a meaningful, priceless gift. And these memories, which reflect the special qualities of your loved one, will serve as his or her legacy as you continue to recall them.
- What special qualities do you appreciate about your loved one?
- How can you incorporate those qualities into your life?
- How will your loved one’s legacy live on in your life?
EXERCISE – GRIEF HEALING ACTION
You can recognize and honor your loved one by having “remember when” sessions, which are simply celebratory recollections of your loved one’s life.
You can do this alone by recording items in a journal or sharing stories in a group. In a journal, write down all the things you never want to forget. For group settings, a great time for this activity would be on special milestone dates, such as the holidays, your loved one’s birthday or anniversary of loss.
Memories are long-term sources of comfort for the rest of your life. With laughter as well as tears, sharing memories is a way to hold your loved one close to you.
Hi, I am Chelsea Hanson, author, grief support educator, and founder of With Sympathy Gifts and Keepsakes. I help people rebuild their lives after the death of the person they love while always keeping the spirit of the beloved close. To get help with your next step to heal after loss, contact me today or visit www.chelseahanson.com. Together, we will get you on the path to healing and feeling better.