An integral part of the grieving process is being able to remember and honour our loved ones who have passed. It is also part of forgiveness and un-forgiveness. Once again, and I will keep repeating myself, each journey through grief is so very different and unique, that one size will never fit all. And that is not just fine, but how it is meant to be. It was never meant to be otherwise which is why our personal journey through grief sometimes seems so fraught with loneliness. No one knows what you are going through from your personal perspective based on your relationship with the loved one who has passed and those who are still with you.

If holding onto something personal that belonged to your loved one after they have passed makes you feel comforted and brings them closer for a short time, then that is what you must do. In fact, I would recommend it.  Candice had a stuffed toy dog. His name was Lucky. That was my go-to comforter but I have since given him away. I have other little mementos which belonged to her, which I still occasionally unpack and marvel over beside the little bits and pieces I have tucked into my things, like her pen and pencil set in my stationary bag. I have done the same with things of Steven’s. I still have a bottle of his aftershave that I occasionally wear as a perfume. As do I have little things that remind me of Bronwyn like the multi-coloured pens in my stationary bag. All these little reminders did help me to remain in the love of our relationships even though they are not physically with me.

Talk to them! Talk at them! Talk about them! I know that this is part of the grieving process and the process of forgiveness.  It really helps to verbalize how we feel about the situation to them. If you are angry for them leaving loved ones behind or just heartbroken at how they exited your life…let them know. I can’t stress enough how important it is to talk to your loved one/ones who have passed, – but then listen and watch because they might just find a way to send you a message! They are not gone…..we just cannot see them. Some people are that lucky to be able to feel their presence energetically and to even hear them. Just knowing they hear you and are here supporting you in your time of great pain can be immensely helpful.

Hold onto the little and big rituals you did together when they were here.  Prepare a favourite meal, visit a favourite place, listen to their favourite music and most of all celebrate significant days. They were once part of your earthly life and always will be. Hold a Life Celebration in their honour on the anniversary of their passing and even go so far as to set a place at the table on their birthday. They brought joy into your life at some point and that is something to be grateful for…you loved and felt love. Honour them for that if for nothing else and then honour yourself for surviving what must be the most difficult experiences in life.

This brings me to the most important aspects of being “forever changed” and remembering and honouring our loved ones……keeping your heart space open! “Yeah, that might be easy for you to say!” – might come from some. I know how impossible that is in the beginning when the heart is so raw with pain and ripped apart, but it will not always be like that. The initial trauma and pain will subside into a dull throb where you will be able to catch your breath and think rationally once again. Once that starts to happen you will have the odd moments where you can feel the love creep in…be open to it and build on that. This is the fabric of life and the greatest way in which we can remember and honour our dearest. Hold them forever in your heart.

From my heart to yours.