Those who live in the heart should not be forgotten, but celebrated. Those who have lost a loved one will never stop missing them or thinking about them. While everyone survives their loss differently, some may want to share the story about their special someone and do something extraordinary in their loved one's honor. Below are some ideas that may help you honor your loved one and make a difference for others around you.
- Walk or race in your loved one's honor. There are races and walks to support all kinds of causes. Many times you can connect with people at a race who have experienced similar losses to yours. There are races to promote suicide prevention efforts, find cures for diseases, support wounded warriors and much more. You can also participate in a race for a cause that was near to your loved one's heart, such as fighting hunger or preventing animal abuse. Continuing to champion these causes can help you keep the memory of your loved one alive.
- Volunteer in your loved one's memory. You can volunteer by yourself or get together with your family members and friends. You can work for a cause that your loved one believed in or just work for a good cause and dedicate your work in their memory.
- Start a new tradition. One way to find comfort on a holiday or special day may be to start a new tradition. You could plant a tree or flower that will blossom at that time every year or visit a special place with your family.
- Make a donation. Doing good for others in your loved one's memory can make you feel better. You can personally donate to a cause that they believed in or raise funds from others. The size of the donation isn't important. Simply doing something positive for others can improve how you feel.
- Talk about your loved one. It's important to remember the joyful times you had with your loved one and talking to family members or mutual friends can help you.
- Look at pictures or watch videos. Photos and videos can help you recall happy memories with your loved one.
- Pass down your loved one's values. Honor your loved one's memory by recalling which positive traits and values they taught you and pass those along to your children or other people in the community.
- Think of your loved one as you celebrate achievements. When you achieve a goal like passing a test or buying a house, think of how proud this would have made your loved one. You can feel close to your loved one's memory and feel that extra sense of pride.
- Remember to laugh. Know that your loved one would want you to go on to have a happy and fulfilling life. It's healthy to laugh, especially when remembering fun times that you spent together. Get out and do something enjoyable to release healthy endorphins.
- Share your artistic talents. Whether it's a written remembrance, a scrapbook, an online journal or a memory quilt, spending time creating something to honor your loved one will help you grieve and provide a lasting remembrance for others.
Grieving is not an easy journey. Know that you don't have to go through it alone. You can reach out to friends, family members, support groups, clergy or a therapist. Military OneSource also has great resources and support to help you. You can read articles about understanding grief and loss on Military OneSource. You can also connect with a confidential non-medical counselor online, over the phone or in person at no cost. To connect to a counselor visit Military OneSource and go to the Confidential Help tab, or call 800-342-9647.