9 Ways to Remember Your Lost Loved Ones
When we’ve lost someone we love, they are in our hearts and minds every day. However, we may find ourselves thinking of them even more on special occasions when the whole family gets together. These gatherings can serve as a stark reminder of the absence of family members who have passed on.
Collective acts of remembrance with the whole family participating can be important steps in grief recovery. They can help family members begin to adapt to life without a loved one. They even can help foster feelings of peace and joy. They also help to keep alive the memory of the special person you are all mourning. Below, we will discuss nine ways you can remember your lost loved ones at family gatherings.
1. Plant a Tree in Their Honor
Trees represent strength and hope, bending in fierce winds but never breaking. Planting a tree in remembrance of a lost family member is a wonderful way to create a lasting memorial to their life. It’s also can provide the family with a place to visit when they are missing the person who has passed. You can plant a tree privately at your home or utilize a tree-planting partnership at a local park or university.
2. Gather Memorial Stones
It is often a comfort to have something tangible to remind you of your lost loved one. Some families may choose to ask each person to find a small stone to use as a memorial stone. Families collect them to create a memorial that everyone has contributed to. You can use a vase to display them or a vessel that was important to your lost loved one. At family gatherings, you can keep the memorial stones on display, or each family member can keep one in remembrance.
3. Make a Photo Wreath
You can do this act of remembrance at any time of year. But many families make photo wreaths during the holiday season. Ask each family member to bring a few of their favorite photos of your lost loved one. Gather together to fasten them to a wreath. You can find many craft stores, including wireframes, evergreen wreaths, special collage photo frames shaped like a wreath. Your memorial creation can be displayed whenever the family comes together.
4. Purchase Photo Lockets
It can be such a comfort to wear a photo of your loved one in a locket that lies near your heart. Come together as a family and choose one or more locket styles that family members can choose from. Decide on an inscription such as your loved one’s name or initials. Each family member can then insert a photo of their choosing into the locket. Some styles even accommodate cremated remains or a lock of hair.
5. Order Memorial Jewelry
Just as a special locket is a comfort when you have lost someone you love, many families come together to order special memorial jewelry, such as diamonds or other gemstones. Make sure the whole family discusses this idea, as it requires locks of hair or cremated remains. It often takes several months to receive this special, personal jewelry, but wearing it to your future family gatherings is a wonderful way to engage in collective remembrance when the family comes together.
6. Create a Family Tree Together
Family remembrance of a lost loved one can also take the form of preserving their legacy. One way to do this is for the family to undertake the project of building out the family tree, tracking your loved one’s lineage – and your own – back as many generations as possible. You can begin with collective internet research using genealogy sites like Ancestry, but taking time to go through old family photo albums together can be another wonderful way to feel a personal connection to the family’s past and to the person you have lost.
7. Cook Together
Many families are tied together by the recipes that remind them of time spent with one another and loved ones lost. Family gatherings are a perfect opportunity to join together in the kitchen to recreate a loved one’s special recipe or favorite meal. It also offers time together to share memories and stories that will continue to bind your family to one another during the grief recovery.
8. Release Doves
Whether the pain of your family’s loss is fresh, or you are remembering and honoring someone special many years after their passing, a beautiful way to do so is to plan a release of doves. It can be done at their graveside, in your backyard, or anywhere that might be meaningful to your family. A celebration of this nature often symbolizes love, peace, and hope as a family continues to move forward while still honoring the past.
9. Talk About Them
It seems so simple, yet the act of talking openly about your lost loved one with other family members could be a cathartic experience for everyone. In our culture, friends and acquaintances may feel awkward mentioning the person who has died, and yet grievers often find solace in knowing that people still remember and talk about the special person they have lost. When your family gathers for a special event or holiday, speak the names of those who have passed, tell stories about them, and inspire one another to keep the conversation going to help preserve their legacy.
Collective Remembrance as an Act of Grief Recovery
Acts of collective remembrance can be very healing for families dealing with the loss’s pain and sadness. Taking special steps to keep a lost loved one alive in each family member’s memory and honor and remember them when the family gathers is also a loving tribute to the person who has passed on. If your family is grieving a loss together, consider using one or more of the above suggestions to navigate your way of grief recovery together.