Keeping a Loved One’s Memory Alive
When someone you love passes away, the grief that follows can be unbearable. Even when you are aware that the end is near for someone close to you, it can still be difficult to prepare yourself for that ultimate reality. But after the grief and the sorrow come the joy and comfort of remembering why your loved one was so special.
Holding memories of our loved ones keeps them alive in our minds. Brain imaging studies have proven that reliving happy experiences stimulates our original feelings of joy as if they were happening now. “Experiences live on in our memories and in the stories we tell ourselves and other people,” said Amit Kumar, assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin, in a December 2019 article entitled “The Power of Positive Memories.” Recalling positive experiences also naturally kindles feelings of gratitude,” he said.
Pleasant memories can catapult us out of heartache and make us feel gratefully good.
For Alex Yancey, a Dallas producer, memorializing her mother took some time. Her mother passed away at 89 years old, and for two years Alexis avoided family gatherings because the thought of not being able to see her was too much to bear. Eventually, she found a way to cherish her mother’s memory by creating an altar of her pictures and keeping a picture of mom by her bed and in other rooms. Alexis’s niece honors her mother’s memory by continuing her tradition of making bourbon balls for Christmas holidays.
How can we cherish the memory of our loved ones? Here are some ideas:
- Set up an altar with their pictures and beloved items.
- Toast them with their favorite beverage.
- Honor them at weddings, reunions, and other family gatherings.
- Put tea lights on a tray and have each family member light one and share a memory.
- Light a candle near a photograph and place at the holiday dinner table.
- Pour libations with each family member calling out an attribute that describes them.
- Compose a poem or acronym of your loved one’s name and frame it.
- Create a memorial table centerpiece or wreath.
- Construct a memory board or box with favorite photos, quotes and personal items.
- Display a photo or something of theirs in each room of the house.
- Create a Powerpoint presentation, video or photo book of favorite pictures or trips you took.
- Establish a Facebook or other social media page dedicated to their memory.
- Make a plaque of their favorite sayings.
- Craft a quilt with fabrics from their favorite clothing.
- Digitize an image of them from treasured pictures.
- Plant your loved one’s favorite flowers or vegetables. Plant a tree in their honor.
- Prepare their favorite food.
- Continue their holiday traditions.
- Have birthday parties in their honor.
- Wear their favorite fragrance.
- Watch their favorite movie or television shows.
- Create a calendar, mug, blanket or screensaver from photos.
- Create jewelry with their name or initials.
- Design a plaque with life lessons that they taught you.
- Give donations to charitable organizations in their honor.
- Dedicate a chair at your place of worship in their name.
- Write a letter in your journal reflecting on all the things that you love about them.
- Start a memory journal and reflect on all the things that you love about them.
- Write a letter of gratitude for the precious memories that that gave you.
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