This post focuses in particular on the loss of a child, whom I will call Samuel. Hopefully the ideas inspire you, no matter what age your loved one was when they passed away.
Express memories of and wishes for Samuel.
- Hold a vigil or service for Samuel.
- Write a letter to Samuel, telling him what you miss, what you wonder about, what you want to learn about him someday.
- Create something to help you remember Samuel.
- Sew a memory quilt or stuffed animal from his blankets or clothing.
- Make a scrapbook of photos, letters, memories, or unfulfilled desires.
- If you have a keepsake such as a lock of hair or flowers from Samuel’s funeral, have a piece of memorial jewelry made.
- Get a tattoo of Samuel’s name or of something that reminds you of Samuel.
- Similarly, create something for other loved ones to remember Samuel.
- Train for and run a race in honor of Samuel. You might find it a useful way to release your emotions. You might even use this opportunity to raise money for a charitable cause.
Create beauty in honor of Samuel.
- Make your community or world a better place, just as Samuel’s presence did.
- Plant a rosebush in your front yard, window box, or community garden.
- Build a community playground.
- Donate to or volunteer for a charitable organization in Samuel’s honor.
- Raise and release butterflies.
- Make a Spotify or Youtube playlist for processing grief and share it with others.
- Learn a useful skill and use it to help others in Samuel’s name.
- Learn how to do a construction task well and volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.
- Take music lessons and volunteer to play for NICU or assisted living facility residents.
- Learn to knit or crochet and make hats for preemies, lap blankets for the elderly, or gloves for the homeless.
Care for yourself and for your relationship with Samuel.
- Talk to someone about Samuel – perhaps a bereavement doula, perhaps a therapist, or perhaps an online or local support group. Share your stories, memories, regrets, and wishes.
- Visit Samuel’s grave.
- Bring a book to read to Samuel, or a prayer to say.
- Bring flowers to leave at the grave.
- Make Samuel’s memory part of your spirituality or religiosity.
- Write a prayer or a song for Samuel, on his behalf and/or asking his intercession.
- Purchase a special candle or a new rosary to remind you of Samuel.
- Create a nighttime prayer or meditation routine incorporating Samuel’s memory and strengthening your spiritual connection.
Do you have more ideas? Please leave a comment detailing how you have honored someone who has died.