Life after loss: 7 tips on remembering a loved one

How to celebrate amidst the grief

If you have ever lost someone, or even a pet, you will know the excruciating pain that grief brings.

Our friends over in Mexico have the perfect remedy to fix a broken heart, by celebrating their loved ones with the Day of the Dead festival annually in November.

You may be familiar with the colourful sugar skulls and incredible street parades with life-size papier mache skeletons, which celebrate memories and honour the deceased in a positive way that casts a bright light over their death.

[Credit: Shutterstock}

Here in the UK, we don’t acknowledge anything similar so tend to experience death through sorrow instead, making it harder to cope and sit with those emotions.

So, to coincide with our Mexican comrades, we thought we’d take a leaf out of their book this month to salute our departed with some special remembrance ideas.

To help you feel connected and uplifted by loss, check out our seven tips below.

[Credit: Sandy Millar]

1 Keep in touch with the memories

Keeping memories fresh in your mind can be tricky, especially if they are from deep within your past, therefore protecting these special times is super important.

One method for preserving memories is to go back to the places where they were made and relive the experiences. So, if it was a romantic day at the park or a long drive, get back to that park or back in the car and relive those moments. It will make you feel more connected to that time and help you process those feelings.

 2 Talk with mutual friends and family about the loved one

Talking and being open is such an important part of remembering someone, especially if you share mutual friends or family members, as discussing the loved one can open you up to new ideas and feelings that you might have not thought of before.

As the saying goes, ‘two heads are better than one’ and the same can be said for being open about your emotions and sharing memories.

[Credit: Nick Fewings]

3 Invest in some special memorabilia

Once upon a time you had to visit the grave or place where ashes were scattered to feel connected to a loved one, now there are many ways to have personalised memorabilia – from ashes jewellery to tattoos with ashes being inked into the skin.

For a truly sentimental gift, check out Inscripture as they recreate exact handwriting as engravings and can even create a new message using written words of a loved one.

4 Look over photos and videos

There’s nothing like looking back on a smile or a holiday that’s been captured on film. Even though viewing pictures can be painful, it’s healthy to reflect and understand that you will be able to cherish them forever and no one else has that privilege.

This method is extremely helpful when looking back at a past negative relationship and pulling the positives from it regardless of what happened to invite real growth.

[Credit: Michal Dziekons]

5 Focus on the positives

Following on from above, focusing on the good characteristics of your loved one can make remembering them a happier albeit emotional experience.

Getting closure may not always be possible, but you can create closure for yourself by feeling grateful for what you have been through or for the relationship you had.  

6 Write a letter

Writing a letter doesn’t mean you always have to send it. By penning your thoughts to your loved one, it is an extremely cathartic way to express any emotions you may still be clinging onto in their purest form without any judgement from others.

7 Celebrate them

Celebrating a loved one is so important and can be done in so many ways, whether it is throwing them a party or simply honouring them by watching their favourite film, this is such a great way to show gratitude and care towards them.

Remember, if you are really struggling, there is help out there with specially trained bereavement counsellors to support you through your loss.

To find out more, click here: NHS Grief and Bereavement.

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