"Grief, I've learned, is really love. It's all the love you want to give but cannot give. The more you loved someone, the more you grieve. All of that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes and in that part of your chest that gets empty and hollow feeling. The happiness of love turns to sadness when unspent. Grief is just love with no place to go."
Keeping a journal can be one helpful way of keeping that special emotional connection with your deceased loved one. Writing about: special past memories, poems or lyrics about the person, important dates as they come up and what you are missing about your special person, your grief feelings and experiences, and things you would want to share with them if they were still here with you physically.
Writing helps us to express our feelings instead of dismissing or shoving them somewhere deep down inside. It can give us more clarity about how we are feeling and help us to regulate our emotions.
Creating a memory book is another way to express our feelings of grief and share the experience with others in our family. Some items to consider including would be: special objects of the deceased, photos, cards, stories about our loved one, special memories, poems or art and anything else we feel is significant.
This ritual is one way of continuing our bond with our deceased loved one and it allows us to share our feelings with others in our family. Over the years we can come back to it and revisit these meaningful moments.
As we walk through our grief process, one of the tasks of mourning is to learn how to live our life going forward without our deceased loved one. Even as we start to become more comfortable and less overwhelmed with this new reality, important dates like the birthday or the death anniversary of our loved one can bring up a lot of difficult emotions. It can be helpful to plan for these events and figure out what support we need to get through these tough moments. Figuring out ways we can continue our emotional relationship with our loved one during these anniversaries can also help us through them. Some ideas are: cooking their favorite foods, doing some activity that they loved or that you used to do together, calling a close relative and sharing special memories of that person, and anything else that makes you feel connected.