Learning to honor and praise those who are important in our lives when they are here will help tremendously when they are gone. In this powerful post we share some life lessons from a woman who knows loss and grief all too well. Death is inevitable but here are a few things you can do to make the unimaginable a little more manageable in the long term.
“How To Honor Those Who Are Still Here”
Coping with loss is never easy as I was reminded again after my dear friend died leaving a 13-year-old, husband, and parents behind. Unfortunately, I have too much expertise on losing loved ones and felt compelled to write some tips not only for myself to take action but hopefully to spark ideas for others to embrace and appreciate their friends and family together.
Where should I begin…
I started writing this after losing my dear friend to metastatic breast cancer that she courageously battled, never quitting the fight to the very end. And If you have ever had the honor to know and spend time with someone who impacted your life—you can understand how a piece of them is never forgotten but rather cherished.
Moreover, the importance to grow and go forward is so important after they’ve gone—even when you may feel desperately alone with your grief. So why wait to share with your friends and family how much they mean to you?
More importantly, I truly think it’s important to take the time now to get to really know your loved ones while you can since time is non-refundable—and use your time with intention.
Connection to the past with our relationships, recreational pursuits, careers, and passions will help to shape our individual identities.
Here are some ideas to get better acquainted with your friends, loved ones, and even residents/clients (like I do in my work life) if you are lucky enough to be in the active aging industry. Some ways to stay close to those you love:
Plan a legacy party with girlfriends over spirits
Create memory boxes with grandchildren
Host a family/friend holiday event
More details on the above…
Plan a legacy party with girlfriends over spirits, create memory boxes with grandchildren, or host a family/friend holiday event—all of these activities will creatively connect you to the people in your life. And here’s how you can collect some valuable information in the meantime.
Playing with pictures:
Collect pictures of yourself and your loved ones as a child, through the decades, as a newlywed, as a business person, with their family when they were young, vacation pictures, work pictures, and newspaper articles.
Collect various name badges, business cards, tools of the trade, scrapbook clip art, logos, military badges, etc. Don’t discount housewife as an occupation!
Identifying important roles:
Family roles (parent, grandparent, etc.), PTA president, Sunday school teacher, coach, volunteer.
Golf balls, religious icons, hobby supplies, travel logs, diary, info, cooking items, spool of thread, fishing lures, etc.
Awards, favorite recipes. inventions (copies of patents, specific items).
A few of my favorite things…
- Specific candy bar wrappers,
- Music, places, etc.
So as the holiday season approaches, skip the mundane gifts like scarves, hat and gloves—and consider truly giving a part of your heart in the form of a living legacy gift. I am especially guilty of getting caught up in a busy lifestyle and was recently reminded that “busy” distracts us and can easily take us off the course of being there for those closest to us, so consider about how you can be creative this holiday season in a “giving” way that requires you to be selfless with your time.
Happiness really should be about how you make a difference in another person’s life.
What it all means
Loved ones may be gone from our sight but never forgotten in our hearts. Knowing that grief really has no end; it just changes over time, I know you can find comfort relishing the small things like the sun, the moon, the stars, the water that are forever around us. However, take a moment to breath in sincere gratitude to be thankful for today and reminisce in real time.
**Dedicated to two very special daughters, Addison H. and Hailey S.**
About the Author:
Tracey Harvey has more than three decades of experience in the wellness, retirement living and fitness industries. In addition, Tracey has championed evidence-based wellness programs nationwide in order to help older adults improve overall functionality; and has published more than 30 fitness and wellness articles. As a national presenter and fitness instructor Tracey has always been passionate about managing wellness over illness. Connect with her directly on Linkedin or email at firstname.lastname@example.org/.
Editor’s note: If this post inspired you to write something for us, here’s how to Submit Your Story so other women can read your experience and know they are not alone. Thank you in advance. Kerrie-Lee, founder RedLily xo