Keeping a Loved One’s Memory Alive During the Holidays
November 2, 2020
The holiday season can be a particularly challenging time for those who are grieving. If someone you love has died, the holidays may not be a time of joy; they may instead be a painful reminder that your loved one won’t be there to celebrate. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to keep their memory alive and cultivate some comfort during these trying times.
Continuing the Bond
Whether your loved one passed away this year or 10 years ago, grief is not something that ends; it is something that becomes a part of you. As you progress through your grief journey during this holiday season, it may be helpful to keep one particular grief concept in mind, which can help you to remain close to your loved one at a time when you miss them the most. Continuing bonds theory acknowledges that grief is ongoing, and suggests that it is normal to stay connected with someone you love after they die. According to this theory, speaking or praying to a deceased loved one is not only completely normal, but also healthy. By continuing to bond after someone has died, we can honor their memory, and cope with our grief in a meaningful way.
Keeping Their Memory Alive
This holiday season, there are a number of ways to continue the bond with someone you love who has died. You might consider including them in holiday rituals by placing their photo on the table, giving a toast before mealtime, or telling stories about your most cherished memories together. Speaking about their life can be a great way to process and accept their death. If they were a fantastic cook, you could honor them by preparing their most popular recipes as part of your holiday meal. The process of cooking can be therapeutic, and enjoying the food with your family and friends can be comforting. You could even play some of their favorite music to set the tone.
Starting a New Tradition
Another wonderful opportunity to keep your loved one’s memory alive during the holidays is to start a new ritual or tradition. Perhaps every Christmas morning, you visit their gravesite, or go on one of their favorite hikes. You could write them a letter to let them know that you love and miss them, and continue to honor their memory. Another therapeutic option is to create a piece of art, whether a story, poem, piece of music, or visual art to celebrate their life. This could be an individual or group activity, and could be a great way to get children involved so that they can express their grief, too. You could also support their favorite cause by volunteering at their favorite local charity or donating money to a foundation that was meaningful to them.
The opportunities to continue the bonds with your loved one are truly limitless. No matter what you choose to do to keep their memory alive, we hope these ideas offer you and your family a sense of peace during this holiday season, and in the years to come.