It is normal to be afraid that we will forget our loved one after they have died, or that others will forget them. I promise you … you won’t. How could you? As time passes you may forget smaller details, but the person and what they meant to you in life will not drift away. It’s been over two decades since my husband died and I remember even the smallest detail… like how he used to wear his watch with the face sitting on the side of his wrist so that when he glanced down while driving he didn’t have to turn his hand to see the time.
It’s okay to remember your loved one. Here is something you can do to ensure they won’t be forgotten… talk about him or her. I’m not saying that you have to repeat over and over what happened, but share stories and memories of them with people who are here. Especially if they have left behind children or grandchildren or people who meant a lot but had little time with them. The key is to remember the past but live in the present.
Living in the present is to be mindfully aware of life today – not getting stuck in the past and only living in the memories or projecting yourself into the future and worrying about what could happen next. It’s okay to treasure the memories of the past and to reminisce, but to move forward in life does require a conscious effort to live life fully and with intention. Experiences, including grief and loss, are what make up the fabric of our lives… but they don’t define us.
Memories are precious… they certainly have brought me joy and comfort over the years. To allow myself to languish in the past would mean that I miss the beauty of living today. It’s important to accept that we don’t get to choose when someone will die, how they will die, how old they will be when they die, or where we are at on the journey with them when they die. We only get to choose to survive and to live our life until we die.
Allowing yourself to live fully does not diminish your loved one’s memory. Live every minute of every day with joy and intention – it is possibly the best way to pay tribute to them!