You still have your life to live after someone dies, albeit a very different life without your loved one physically present. Finding strategies to keep the person close to you emotionally is an important part of the grieving process. Here are some suggestions for how you can stay connected with your loved ones.
#1 Talk to them or write to them
For as long as anyone can remember, people have talked to the people they love after they have died. Talking to your loved one customarily might bring many comforts, whether it is keeping them up to date on what’s going on in the family, the world, or in your own life. You might want to talk to them about how you feel and tell them how much you miss them. There is no right or wrong answer here.
#2 Talk to other people about them and share stories and experiences
One of the most heartbreaking aspects of a loved one’s death is when memories of them begin to fade. As time passes, some people report that they can no longer image someone’s face or recall what they sounded like.
Talking about them with other individuals who knew them well is one method to keep their memories alive. People might be hesitant to talk about or remember the person if you were extremely close to them, making you feel alone in your mourning. They may be apprehensive about upsetting you.
However, if you start the topic, it gives others the permission to speak up and tell stories about what that person used to say or do. You might even learn something new about them or see a side of them that you had not seen before.
You could also keep track of these stories in some form, such as writing them down in a memory book or recording them on tape, so you can refer to them when you miss the person you have lost or share with your family in the future.
#3 Create something using something of theirs
Some companies will turn the clothes of your loved one into blankets or memory bears, which give you a physical reminder of the person. You could also have something made that you could wear every day, such as finger print jewelry, meaning that the one you have loved and lost is with you all of the time, no matter where you are.
#4 Have a remembrance ritual in place
It can help you feel closer to someone if you have a regular ritual to set out time to intentionally remember them. It could be something as simple as going to their favourite location in the garden every day, leaving flowers on a cemetery, or flipping through a favourite photo book while sipping their favourite beverage. It might be something much more substantial, such as an annual trip to their favourite location or arranging a party. You could do this on a major date for them, such as their birthday, anniversary, or Christmas, which can be difficult while you are grieving.
Traditions and rituals that they are familiar with – and were once a part of – might make them feel as if they are close by. Starting new rituals without them can also pull you closer to them because you’re doing something special only for them to keep them in your life.
#5 What would they say or do?
Part of the pain of grieving is from the realization that we will never be able to share whatever comes our way in the future with that person, whether it is great news, a special occasion, a difficult situation, or the mundane minutiae of everyday life.
However, it is surprising how much you can picture what someone you knew would have thought of something, especially if you knew them well. Close your eyes and imagine you have just informed them of some important information. What do you think they would say?
#6 Do something that they used to enjoy
When you have finished talking, doing something they used to enjoy is another approach to feel connected with them. It could be something you used to do together, such as cooking or flying a kite. It might be something you have not done before. Getting lost in what they enjoyed could help them come into greater focus. If they were passionate about a subject, you might take consolation in supporting or learning more about it, knowing that they would be happy of your efforts.