Celebrating and Remembering the Life of a Loved One

Grief is not…a “two steps forward, one step backward” kind of journey; it is often one step forward, two steps in a circle, one step backward. It takes time, patience, and, yes, lots of backward motion before forward motion occurs. — Dr. Alan Wolfelt

When we lose someone we loved dearly especially a soul mate or our significant other it can be a very devastating time in our lives. In fact, it can scare a person quite badly and so I totally agree with the quote above. When my husband and soul mate suddenly passed on it was like the other shoe dropped and I felt like Alice falling into that deep hole just tumbling on and on. It is particularly difficult and painful if it occurs suddenly as it did for me.

One day my husband was brought to the hospital and the next he was gone. The day before as I left the hospital I did not get to see or talk to him. However, it was not exactly his passing that made it most difficult for me it was that being a person who suffers anxiety I had to make sure above all else I pulled myself together. How could I go on by myself if I fell apart? All of the family I had at the moment were relatives living in other parts of Latvia and a stepson who lived with his family in England and a stepdaughter who was engaged, expecting a baby and taking care of her bedridden grandmother. No, there was no option for me but to pull myself together and gather my distraught nerves into a tight knot.

The one thing that greatly helped me is my belief in the afterlife and I could strongly feel his presence all around me. We had watched the movie “Ghost” several times together and discussed the possibility of a loved one making his or her presence known. In the dark days after his passing a clock, we had on the dresser that opened up with one side being the clock and the other a framed photo of my husband literally flew off the dresser and landed onto the floor. It did not break but this gesture reminded me of the movie and I knew my dearest had made his presence known to me and right away I felt much better. It has now been three years since his passing and even though I cannot say it has become so much easier for me I do get great joy from other ways of knowing he is near. from seeing his photos. and from the special memories I have. There are different things we can do to get along our life’s journey alone and ways to keep their memory alive.

Birthdays

The most difficult birthday of his passing was the first one he was not with me. But I knew that remembering each and every birthday would keep him with me always and when his birthdays come I light a candle and reflect upon our special moments together. I have no one to share these moments with but if you do then upon that special birthday share wonderful stories about his or her life with your family and friends it will be like a celebration of their lives And if you believe like I do perhaps you can feel their love surrounding you and you'll know they are close by.

Revisit Places

When my soul mate passed on I had been living with him in Riga, Latvia for 20 years. At this time I knew everywhere I went and looked I would be seeing him and remembering. For me, the option was to relocate back to my homeland the U.S. However, if you have to stay living in the same place a nice way to remember is to take along some friends and revisit the places you enjoyed going to with them and taking photos to share with others and telling them about these places. I do this myself online by posting photos and telling everyone about these places even though I no longer live in Latvia. Even that is very therapeutic and greatly helps to keep their memory alive.

Music You Shared

Another great way of remembering is to listen to and let others hear the music you both enjoyed. I am of two cultures American and Latvian and so I have a vast repertoire of music in both English and Latvian. I have saved up the special songs we both enjoyed and danced to on my Favorite list on YouTube and listen to the songs over and over again. Sometimes it makes me sad and other times makes me smile but most importantly it reminds me of those special moments we shared while listening to the music.

Holidays

I have to say that holidays can be the hardest particularly Christmas but it can also be wonderful to remember how you shared holidays with one another. This year like others at Christmas I looked over all the photos we had taken over the years and it made me feel good just remembering. It can also be wonderful to share with family and friends about those special times and perhaps bring back a tradition or two from those days.

Graveside Remembrance

If you are like me you know their resting place at the cemetery is only a place for you to go and remember. Most likely they will be close by and glad you came to the last place you were at after their passing. I do not have this opportunity since I left Latvia so I do my special remembering by candlelight at any time but if you can visit then make it a time you talk to them and open your mind to feeling their presence and if you are like me most likely you’ll leave the graveside a bit sad but with a smile that you went and unburdened yourself to them.

Doing all or any one of these things will keep your loved one in your mind and closer to you. It can make your time on earth easier to bear making their lives a celebration and letting them know that you will always love them with the hope of one-day meeting again.

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