The holidays may be a time which brings friends and family closer together, but it’s not easy to celebrate with the loss of a loved one weighing on your mind. While their absence may be painful, there are many beautiful ways to remember those you have lost and to celebrate their life during the holidays.
Overcoming Holiday Sadness through Memorials
If you want to remind yourself and others that a loved one’s passing has not ceased their importance in your life, a memorial can serve as the perfect reminder. Many different types of memorials are out there and each could be easily personalized with intimate touches. Below are a few examples.
- A living memorial, such as a tree or rose bush, makes a perfect opportunity to host a memorial service in your loved one’s honor.
- Annually lighting a candle allows those who participate to take a moment to remember those they have loved and lost and may be displayed in a window for all to see.
- Christmas ornaments or memorial plaques may be set up with holiday decorations as a seasonal reminder of a loved one’s memory.
- Hand-maid memorials give kids the opportunity to participate in the remembrance process. (Ideas and templates for homemade memorials may be found online.)
Remembrance through Story-telling
During the holidays, you spend your time with those closest to you. Why not take advantage of these opportunities to share stories about those you have lost? While decorating the Christmas tree or sitting around the Thanksgiving table, everyone has the perfect chance to share their unique stories with those who share their loss. In this way, everyone will have a chance to celebrate these lives and to share a few laughs about old times.
Start a Tradition to Honor a Loved One’s Memory
As you plan the next holiday itinerary, think about those things which were dear to your lost loved one’s heart. Did he or she have a favorite song, hobby, or even movie? Chances are they did. Choose one and invite your friends and family to join you in celebrating this object of affection and the individual who cared for it. If your loved one was a brilliant ice skater, take your family to the local rink. If he or she cared deeply for a certain song, join together to sing it in their honor. Making this a part of your holidays will create a tradition full of heart.
Sharing the Love through Service
The memory of a lost loved one is a perfect reason to begin a holiday service tradition. Volunteering at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen, collecting donations for your loved one’s favorite charity, or adopting a child for Christmas gives you the opportunity to share the love which you have for your loved one with others. Like other memorials, you can invite friends and family to join you in this service and together you can carry on the memories of those who have passed.
While remembering lost loved ones can be painful, celebrating life is an inspirational addition to any holiday. Everyone deals with grief at these times, but however you choose to remember those you have lost should depend on what is personally best for you and what you are most comfortable with. Whether silent or public, alone or together – there exists no right or wrong way to honor a loved one’s memory. Holidays breed compassion, love, and camaraderie and any commemoration you choose should ultimatley do the same.
Memorial Tree Photo from Sebastian Dooris Photostream on Flickr
Soup Kitchen Photo from Chiricahua Sky Island