Remember Your Loved Ones

Memorials Every Day: Simple Ways to Remember Your Loved Ones

On Memorial Day we remember those who died serving our country. Here are some simple things you can do to remember your loved ones year round.

Remember Your Loved Ones

Memorial Day is a wonderful opportunity for us to honor the service and sacrifice of our fallen heroes each year.

Our family, like so many in America, has close ties to the military. Bob served in the Navy, as did his brothers and their father and grandfather before them. My dad was in the Marines. We are blessed in that we have not lost a loved one while they were serving, but we hold deep respect and gratitude for those who did.

The practice of honoring those men and women on Memorial Day also makes me think about how we memorialize anyone we have lost.

In many cultures, there are regular rituals or traditions to commemorate all those who have gone before.

Originating in Mexico and celebrated in many Latin countries, Dia De Los Muertos, or “Day of the Dead,” is a time for families to come together to honor their ancestors.

The Japanese festival called Obon is celebrated in August each year. It is a three-day event during which services are held to honor relatives and ancestors.

In China, the Qing Ming Festival takes place on the fifteenth day after the spring equinox each year. Families remember and honor the deceased during the festival.

You remember your loved ones any time you bring them to mind.

Americans may not have a designated day to memorialize our civilian loved ones, but certain days (like a birthdate, an anniversary, or the date they passed away) will naturally remind us of them. It’s good to remember them on those days, but here are three simple ways to keep their memory alive all year round.

1. Talk about your loved one.

This seems like a given, but sometimes we hold our grief – and our memories – inside without realizing it.

My mother passed away when our oldest child was a baby, and my dad died when all of our children were still very young. It was many years later before I realized that I never really talked about them much to my kids. That makes me sad, because they don’t have a clear picture of who their Grandma Connie and Grandpa Tom were.

  • Whenever you think of your loved one, say what you’re thinking out loud. If it’s a memory, share it with someone. If you’re just missing that person, tell someone about what you’re missing.
  • Acknowledge those special days (like their birthday, a holiday, Mother’s/Father’s/Grandparent’s Day, the anniversary of their death, etc.), and use the occasion to talk about who they were and why you loved them.
  • Talk to others who knew and loved them and share your happy or funny memories. Have a good laugh if you can.

You may want to make it a practice to talk about your loved one more often, even if it seems painful at first.

2. Keep some mementos where you will see them often.

I don’t have very many things that belonged to my loved ones who have passed. The pieces I do have are in a prominent place in my home or I them use often.

Remember your loved one with mementos

My father loved woodworking. I think the only thing I have left from him is a child-sized, wooden rocking chair he made that my mother painted using a rosemaling pattern. The rocking chair currently occupies the corner of our bedroom next to my nightstand where I see it every day.

I have a few things of my mother’s, including her silver set. For several years I used it as my everyday silverware. It’s since been put back in it’s case, but I still use it frequently for holidays or special occasions. Another piece I cherish is a small Capodimante box that she kept on her dresser. It’s not in the greatest shape, but it reminds me of her whenever I see it.

Think about whether you might have something from your loved one to display. If you don’t have anything that belonged to them personally, is there something you could buy to remind you of them?

If you have pictures of your loved one, you could make a small photo album to keep close at hand. Digital photos can be made into a book using a site like Shutterfly. Or make a framed collage you can display where you’ll see it often.

3. Do things your loved one liked to do.

You can remember your loved ones when you engage in doing things they loved to do. I have recently started baking sourdough bread. Sourdough bakers often name their starter, since it’s a living thing that you will keep for years. I named mine Gladys in honor of my grandmother who loved to bake and often baked bread. Now every time I make a loaf, I’m reminded of my Grandma Glady.

Remember your loved ones favorite activities

Similarly, my father was an avid gardener and loved growing tomatoes. After he passed, my sister placed a tomato plant on his grave in the spring. Bob and I took up vegetable gardening last year, and I often think of my dad when I’m out working in our garden.

My brother-in-law who passed away several years ago used to love the Caramel Cashew Sundae at Culver’s. We were excited to learn there is a new Culver’s restaurant being built not far from us. I’m sure we’ll occasionally treat ourselves to a Caramel Cashew Sundae, and when we do, we’ll always think of Rocky.

When we do these simple things to remember our loved ones, they live on in our hearts and through our memories all year round.

Are there special things you have done to remember your loved ones? Share them in the comments.

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