Honoring the Memory of a Loved One

July 30, 2019

When we lose someone that we love, we miss out on all the future memories that we never get to create together.  In many ways, this is difficult and unfair.  However, this doesn’t mean that the memories need to stop.  Here are some ways to preserve the memories of loved ones we have lost:

Tell stories

It’s simple, but telling stories about someone who is no longer with you can bring such joy.  If grandpa always used to wear the same sweater at holiday parties, but he’s no longer there, it’s ok to have a laugh about the old tattered sweater he would show up in year after year.  If your husband used to complain about how loud the commercials were on the television, it’s ok to remind your children how he used to be so annoyed.  Play their favorite songs in the house and driving in the car and sing them loud.  The more these stories are told, the longer they live on and so too does the memory of a person.  It’s sometimes sad to relive these memories, but it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be shared.  There’s a healing that comes from drawing on these old memories and sharing them together.

Have an event

Oftentimes, the death of a person can leave a huge void during important and significant events.  It can be very special to gather people together during these times.  If someone was a big sports fan and loved a certain rivalry game, make it an event and invite over a group of people for the game.  Tell stories about how much they cared about their team and enjoy the game together.  For others, it may be as simple as going to a favorite spot on the end of the dock and watching a sunset where that person did the same many times before.  Other days such as Valentine’s Day and Father’s Day can be difficult, so make it a point to gather all the people who were touched by that person on these special days.  Use that time to not only support each other but to remember how much that person meant to everyone.

Create a lasting legacy in their name

For those that want to take the steps to create a legacy in the memory of a loved one, there are many options to do this.  If that person had a favorite charity, then perhaps a donation in that person’s name can be a meaningful gesture from the surviving family.  For those that are so inclined, you can create a family legacy fund that continues to grant gifts to charities for many years in the future.  For families that are interested in creating this type of charitable gift fund, they should share these wishes with their advisor and develop a strategy that aligns with their goals.

It’s difficult to think there will be no new memories with a loved one when we lose them.  When we take the time to be intentional and remember all the good things about the time we had with them, we carry on their memory for many years in the future.