Why is Remembering a Loved One so Important?
Because remembering brings healing.
Our memories are a special gift we are given after the loss of a loved one. For a while, they may not feel that way; they may only bring sadness and pain.
But finding ways to remember and hold on to the happy memories we had with our loved ones are, in reality, an important part of living after loss, a necessary step on the path towards healing our hearts.
I wish I could tell everyone who has lost a loved one how important it is to let themselves, and their family, remember. Forget, if you can, the sickness, or tragedy that took them, but give them a place in your life….. We have memories to cherish, and we shouldn’t cheat ourselves by not doing that.
- Lettie Petrie, Bereavement Magazine
Do you worry that your loved one will be forgotten? That your own memories will fade over time? The very act of writing down or telling our stories helps them become stronger in our minds.
As you record your own memories of your loved one, search out the memories others have of them as well. Find out what made them special to others. In the stories you hear, you will find your own memories becoming more real to you too.
Tips for Remembering
Here are a few things to think about as you are deciding how to collect and preserve your loved one’s memories:
- It’s about them – Make your remembrance activities a reflection of the individual, or how you remember him or her. If he was a photographer, let the presentation be centered around photography. If she was a collector, find ways to incorporate what she collected into the things you are putting together.
- Find a buddy – This is not something you need to do alone. You have many friends and loved ones who would jump at the chance to recall their own memories or help you put this together.
- The Good and Bad – Remember both the good and the bad. Your loved one was human, with faults of their own. When our loved ones are gone, we tend to put them on pedestals. But we can’t expect ourselves to live up to the image we have of them if it’s not a true image.
- Learn – Prepare yourself for learning things about your loved one that you may not have known before. Dealing with these revelations can be challenging, but at the same time they can be cathartic and rewarding as you integrate the old with the new.
- Live – Enjoy your memories, but don’t get lost in them. We live in the present, we have hopes and dreams for the future. When we let them, our memories can help us do both.
And the most important thing of all is to remember that these memories are meant to bring you and your loved ones peace, to help all of you remember the good times you had together, and to find joy in the experiences you shared.