Preserving a Legacy

Friday, March, 18, 2011

If you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one, it’s important to remember that your relationship with that person does not end with their passing. There are many ways to continue your loving connection even as you find peace in the acceptance of their death.

Remembrance traditions and rituals are a healthy way to honor your loved one and celebrate the impact they made on the world around them while continuing to move forward with your own life. 

Keep special heirlooms.

As you sort through your loved one’s belongings after their passing, be sure to set aside a few items that have special sentimental value to you. 

Whether it’s your father’s favorite cufflinks or your mother’s wedding crystal, each time you use these treasured keepsakes will bring back fond memories of times you spent together. 

Chronicle their history.

Collect your loved one’s personal letters, journals, photos, videos and other memorabilia and preserve them in a memory box, photo album or scrapbook. 

Not only will the process of sorting through and organizing these mementos spark good memories and help you feel closer to your loved one, but you’ll also create an enduring history of their life that can be passed down to future generations. 

Start a memory journal.

The time following the passing of a loved one is naturally a period of reflection. As you think back through the years and the experiences you shared, record these stories in a journal. 

Whether it was a special occasion or just a funny anecdote from everyday life, by capturing these memories as they come to you, you’ll create a vivid and authentic portrait of your loved one.

Ask other family members and friends to share their memories with you, too. You may discover that they can recall stories from your loved one’s past that you never knew.

Turn your memories into art.

If you find that it’s hard to put your memories into words, try painting, drawing pictures or creating sculptures that represent the person you lost and the experiences you shared with them.

The act of creation itself will be therapeutic, and your works of art will be a lasting tribute to your loved one.

Commemorate your special days.

Continue to honor your loved one’s birthday, anniversary or other meaningful milestones. Gathering together with friends and family on these occasions can be a nice time to exchange stories and fond remembrances. 

Keep long-standing traditions alive.

There’s no reason that beloved traditions should end with your loved one’s passing. For example, preparing the same dishes your mother always made for Thanksgiving and setting the table with her china are lovely ways to feel her presence while continuing to create happy new memories.

Start a new tradition.

Every year on her late father’s birthday, blogger Susan Soper buys 100 Hershey’s chocolate candy bars (his favorite treat). She then hands the bars out to everyone she meets during the day – co-workers, friends, neighbors, even random passers-by – and tells them the story behind the ritual. 

While she began the tradition as a way of bringing joy and comfort to herself, she has also discovered an unexpected benefit of helping others who have lost loved ones, as her act of sharing often prompts the recipient to relate their own stories and memories.

Share their knowledge.

Was your grandmother an excellent cook? Gather her recipes and publish them in a cookbook that you can gift to friends and family. Was your aunt a prolific knitter? Collect her patterns and post them on a blog for others to enjoy. 

By preserving your loved one’s special talents and insights and passing them on to others, you can help keep their passions alive.

Make a memorial gift.

Making an annual charitable donation in your loved one’s name is a wonderful ritual that helps others while honoring the memory of the deceased.

Or, in lieu of a monetary donation, consider regularly volunteering your time for a cause that was close to your loved one’s heart. You’ll feel good knowing that you’re giving back to the community in a way that would make your loved one proud.

Follow their example.

Think about a personality or character trait you admired in your loved one. Perhaps it was their kind, empathetic nature, or maybe it was their sense of spontaneity and ability to find fun in any situation.

Make a conscientious effort to emulate that quality in your own life, and a part of your loved one will live on in you.

Find a quiet space.

Sometimes all you need to feel closer to a lost loved one is a few moments of peaceful reflection.

Whether it’s visiting their gravesite or going to a favorite spot you often frequented together, take a break from your daily routines and allow yourself time to focus on the memories you cherish.

As unique as your loved one

There is no wrong way to keep your loved one’s memory alive. Your remembrance can be as unique and special as they were to you.

Whether you choose a public or private way to express your tribute, whether it is through ritual or through action, the most important thing is that it allows you to feel more at peace with the person’s passing while carrying on the treasures they brought into your life.


Make a powerful impact On the lives Of your neighbors In their time Of greatest need.

Learn More
Statesville Office

2347 Simonton Road
Statesville, NC 28625
Phone: 704-873-4719
Map & Directions

Mooresville Office

1325 Mecklenburg Highway
Mooresville, NC 28115
Phone: 704-663-0051
Map & Directions