When you lose someone you love, your life can be thrown completely off track. You can be left wondering whether you’ll ever be able to continue your life or achieve the things you wanted to do before. Learning to carry on with life after a tremendous loss can be incredibly difficult and it’s important to take things one step at a time and reward and love yourself every step of the way.
Everyone grieves in different ways and there is no right or wrong way to deal with the death of someone special. Some people find comfort in keeping busy and finding ways to honour their lost loved one. Here are just a few ways you can do just that:
Pick up where they left off
Was your loved one a fierce campaigner or activist? Were they in the middle of an exciting project or business venture? If possible, can you pick up where they left off?
Some people find that continuing the great work that a loved one used to do gives them a real sense of accomplishment and joy. By doing this, you can continue your loved one’s legacy and ensure that any unfinished business gets done.
Of course, there’s no point carrying on with your loved one’s work if you have no interest in it at all. And you may have completely different skills to those your loved one had. For example, if they were an extraordinary brain surgeon while you’re a talented teacher, it’s unrealistic to change career path to do what they used to do.
Here are a few things you could do:
- Did your loved one like to raise money for a certain charity? Keep the fundraising going
- Were they decorating the spare room, clearing out the loft or building a tree house? Finish the job or ask friends to help
- Were they passionate about giving blood? If you’re eligible to do the same, sign up and save lives
Take inspiration from their hobbies
Was your loved one a black belt in karate, a regular at the local Zumba glass or a budding guitarist? Perhaps you could pick up a similar hobby or take inspiration from their favourite activities.
There’s no point devoting time to hobbies you don’t enjoy but by keeping your mind open and giving new things a try, you may find something you really love and make lots of new friends in the process.
Keep their memory alive
In the early stages of grief, some people try to push memories of their loved one to the back of their minds so they can move on and try to forget how much they miss the person. They throw away photos, they hide things that bring back certain memories and they sell their loved one’s belongings. Although this attitude can help you deal with your grief for a while, there may come a time where you regret getting rid of your loved one’s things. You’ll probably get to a stage where you want to do everything you can to keep their memory alive.
If the sight of your loved one’s possessions causes you pain, ask friends or relatives to help you pack them away and put them in storage. There will be some things such as clothes and household items that you can get rid of without any regrets but there will also be personal items such as photos, trinkets and keepsakes that you might like to see, touch and smell again in the future.
When you’re ready, start to reintroduce your loved one’s possessions back into your life. Display their books in a corner of your home where you can read and reflect. Display old photos in a creative way. Create memory boxes or scrapbooks filled with happy memories from the past.
Need any more ideas for ways to honour your loved one? Here are some more suggestions:
- Find a letter they wrote and frame it
- Make friends with someone you haven’t spoken to in years – life’s too short not to
- Carry something around with you that reminds you of the person you lost
- Play their favourite music
- Complete their bucket list
- Volunteer with their favourite causes
- Make a donation in their name
- Plant a tree
- Live life to the full and fill it with plenty of adventures
- Live your life in a way that would make them proud