It’s hard to move on with life after you’ve lost someone you love. For a while, the world seems empty and dull. Nothing can make you feel better—not even your favorite places or your favorite activities. Even when other people try to cheer you up, it doesn’t seem to work.
Nevertheless, even as you embrace your grief and give yourself time to process and heal, there are some things you need to keep in mind that will help you deal with your grief and also celebrate the life of the loved one you lost.
Regardless of what you might see, hear, and read, and what the people around you might say, there’s no timeline to healing and getting over loss. There’s no timeline to grieving. You just have to face your feelings and acknowledge the sadness you feel.
There are some days when you will need to be extra kind to yourself. Give yourself time to cry, to eat nothing but comfort food for days, to blast soulful tunes on the speakers, and put on a tearjerker movie or two. You don’t always need to put a brave face on.
It might not seem like everything will ever be all right again, but it just takes some time. You need to be patient with yourself while you are going through the grieving process. While it’s important for others to respect your time and way of grieving, it’s also important to set boundaries for your grieving process so it doesn’t take over your life.
At the same time, you need to know that people have different timelines and ways of grieving. You might find yourself surprised or angry to learn that some family members and friends have already accepted the loss and are going on with their lives while you are still struggling through it. No one is right or wrong. You just have different ways of dealing with grief.
When a loved one leaves us, there’s a tendency to refrain from talking about them. People think that talking or even thinking about someone who has passed away might cause more heartache and pain or reopen wounds that are not fully healed.
Looking back on the memories you shared helps you to deal with the grief of losing them. Instead of feeling sadness, you’ll find yourself smiling as you remember the time you shared.
The thing is, you have to find a way to keep the memory of your loved one alive. Keep their photos up on your walls. Flip through old albums and take a visit down memory lane every now and then. If you’ve lost a parent, talk to your children about it so they remember the stories about their lolo or lola. If you are grieving the loss of a friend, it’s okay to repost some old photos on social media and talk about the impact they had on your life.
You might even want to start a project in memory of them. Is there something they were passionate about? If they loved caring for the environment, you can plant a tree or start a garden. If they supported some organizations and causes, you might want to consider donating to charity in their name or doing a fun run with family and friends.
It doesn’t even have to be grand. Some people start by just posting a photo of a day of something they’re grateful for. Others simply jot down their memories with the person in a journal that they can look through from time to time. The important thing is finding ways to honor their memory and their life.
Even as you mourn, you can still celebrate the life of the person you lost. Celebrating life focuses on the impact they had on your life and the life of their loved ones. Celebrating life also lets you take that next step towards healing.
When you celebrate a person’s life, don’t focus on the loss. Rather, think about what they did and how they influenced your life. Think about the times you spent together and about the things they said that made you laugh.
Traditionally, death is often followed by a wake or viewing before a funeral. These tend to be rather somber moments, but how you decide to celebrate a person’s life doesn’t always have to be a sad event.
One fitting way to do this is by holding a memorial service or a “celebration of life event” for family, friends, and loved ones of the person who passed. Get a special venue, create a guest list, and decide on a menu. You can even opt to get your loved one’s favorite dishes or encourage everyone to bring a dessert if your loved one enjoyed baking. Through Eventory, you can easily find suppliers to help you put a memorial service together without having to worry about the little details so you can focus on the event.
Find ways to honor that person’s memory through the event. You can display photos and other items that they loved. Did they have a collection that they were proud of? Did they love reading certain books or watching certain movies? Include these in the decor and watch family and friends walk down memory lane together.
As you plan the event, enlist the help of family members and loved ones. Make this celebration of life something for everyone to look forward to and involve everyone who knew the person. You may be grieving, but you still want to celebrate the life of your loved one. You may even want to wear the person’s favorite color rather than wearing black or white. Instead of playing sad music, you can play their favorite songs.
During the event, you can also encourage people to share their stories and experiences with the person. You can even set up a message board for people to post their messages or a table where people can display some mementos.
Towards the end, you can gather around and do something symbolic and significant. Some people release balloons, floating lanterns, or butterflies. Others light sparklers or bubbles. If your loved one was full of light and excitement, you might want to cap the event with some fireworks.
There are endless ways to celebrate the life a person lived. Even as you plan for an activity or event to honor them, focus on what they wanted and what they loved. Not only does this honor them, but it also reminds you and the rest of your family, friends, and loved ones, to embrace all the good things that life has to offer and to enjoy the moments you have with each other.