Death is a complex topic for most people to discuss. The crux is that many don’t truly understand dying, as losing your loved ones is unbearable pain. However, death is just as much a part of life as living. And when you pass on, you leave a legacy as a gift to those you love.
Whether the death was a surprise, or you knew someone was sick and frail, it doesn’t make it any easier. Facing death can feel like a punch in the stomach. Someone you love and adore is suddenly no longer there.
Many folks don’t know how to say goodbye and are confused by the grieving process they experience. Some go into shock because they don’t understand why life is full of such sorrow. Think back to a person that you lost who had a profound impact on your life.
You may find comfort in their legacy or the stories and energy they left behind on earth. Take, for instance, Sarah, who lost her grandfather when she was 35. For decades, he was a part of her life and the one she adored.
He was more like a father to her, and she didn’t know how she could go on without him. After he passed, Sarah knew it wasn’t going to be easy. She went to the home and just sat in his chair, trying to feel anything.
The waft of his cologne and the smell of his home seemed overwhelming. She was numb and didn’t want to go on another day, but she had no choice. She decided to walk around his house and take it all in.
It wasn’t long before her mind was flooded with his jokes, laughter, singing, and his generous personality that she found comforting. He was gone, but what he left with her was more powerful than Sarah ever imagined. The thought of closing the door to this home and walking away horrified her, as she didn’t know how to cope.
She found it very challenging to come to terms with his death, but what choice did she have? However, she decided that she could find healing and closure for her pain if she honored his legacy.
Twelve Ways to Honor the Legacy of a Lost Loved One
1. Tell Their Stories
Older folks have told a lot of stories in their day. You can help to keep their memory alive by telling their stories to future generations. Did they have a joke or riddle that they liked to quote if it was a younger person? Each person has a unique personality and gifts they leave behind, and sharing these with others, can help bring healing. Their words of inspiration might be a healing balm for a broken heart.
2. Save Them a Seat
At family gatherings and special events, save a seat for the one gone before you. Just knowing this place is reserved for them and their memory can be very helpful in honoring their life’s journey. Place a picture in the chair and be eager to share their lives and stories with those who may not have had the pleasure of knowing them.
3. Plant a Tree in Memory
A memorial tree is a fascinating way to honor someone who has passed. Each year, the tree will grow bigger and stronger, but you will never forget them each time you look at the mighty strength that grew from a seedling. The tree can help you find peace with their passing and learn that there may be life after death.
4. Carry Something of Theirs With You
In the olden days, people used to keep a locket of hair they would take from a deceased body. They thought that carrying this would bring comfort. According to The Artyologist, hair locked were first mentioned in history back in 1649.
When Charles I of England passed, people who adored him wanted a lock of his hair to put inside a locket. The owners found comfort by keeping something of their beloved leader.
5. Use Their Ashes To Make Jewelry or Art
Resin art is a fabulous way to remember someone you love.
Here’s an interesting, relatively new trend. You can take a few of their ashes and have them made into jewelry that you can keep close to you. If you’re not a jewelry person, you can have the ashes made into art to hang on the wall.
Having a piece of them so close to you can help you during your dark days. Their life can create another masterpiece for those left behind to enjoy.
6. Create a Scrapbook
In Victorian times, there were no funeral homes or fancy services. Instead, they held wakes inside the house. During this time, the family would take pictures with the dead person to honor their memory.
The official term for this was “mirrors with memories,” often used for postmortem photos. According to Mental Floss, these photos were part of an elaborate mourning ritual, which was a way to celebrate the life of their loved ones. However, death was prevalent during this time, as people did not have access to the advanced treatments that we have today.
Some folks are completely freaked out by postmortem photos, though they are making a comeback. Another way to honor their memory is through a scrapbook. You can share pictures of them in life and some of their happiest moments.
A celebration of life is much different than a funeral, and many people are skipping the funeral and going straight to the celebration. The atmosphere is charged and the people happier. You often see these events after the cremation since there’s no going to the graveyard or any of the formal funeral happenstances.
8. Write a Song or Poem
Writing a song or poem is a great way to put your feelings on paper. The song can be reported directly to or about them. Since technology has made it effortless to share your artistic side with the world, you may get a viral hit.
9. Create an Online Memorial
Most funeral homes have online memorial pages where people can go and talk about their memories of those who’ve passed. However, these are a bit more on the informal side. It costs very little to set up a webpage where people can go and post pictures and tell stories about someone who meant so much who’s passed on.
10. Complete Their Mission
You can honor someone’s legacy who’s passed by carrying on their mission. Did they help the homeless and desire to set up a shelter in your area? Then why not finish their work? When they look down from above, make them smile by carrying on their legacy.
11. Create a Slideshow
Slideshows have become popular in recent years. Ask all your family and friends to send you a copy of photos with your loved one or friend in them. Using a simple app online, you can have their photos scroll while listening to their favorite tunes.
Reliving some of these great moments can provide closure. Plus, you can share it with folks near and far who would like to see these clips.
12. Write A Goodbye Letter
Many times, there are unresolved issues or feelings between you and someone who has passed. Since life isn’t perfect, there are occasions where you might not be on the best terms. Writing a goodbye letter is a great way to get all that pain and heartache from the inside to the outside.
Once you vocalize it, you can work on the healing process. Even if you were on excellent terms, a letter telling them goodbye could help you heal. Many people will write it, and they will burn it at the time of their death.
Doing it outside under the stars adds another element of being close to the heavens. It’s an excellent way to get out all the pain you feel without involving anyone else.
There are plenty of ways to honor the legacy of someone who’s passed. However, if you ever feel the grief and pain are too much for you to bear, you need to talk to someone. Trained counselors are well-versed in handling these delicate matters, and they can help you in these difficult times.
You should know that the pain won’t go away overnight, but time does lessen the grief you feel. One day, you will be able to share their stories and history without bursting into tears. Their memories will comfort you on some of the darkest days, but better days are ahead.