While there are countless ways to revere the life of a departed friend or family member, you may find it particularly useful to establish an ongoing ritual, grieve and share memories with others or take helpful action in the name of your loved one.
Rituals and Grief
By creating personal, ongoing rituals, you help yourself process grief while honoring the memory of your loved one, according to licensed professional counselor Karla Helbert in the Good Therapy article “Creating Rituals to Move Through Grief.” For instance, plan how you will celebrate your loved one’s birthday each year -- you might arrange to watch his favorite movie, dine with your family at his favorite restaurant or simply visit the burial site. Rituals can be as simple as lighting a candle in honor of your loved one at a certain time of the day.
Ask close family members and friends if they would like to gather as a group to talk about your loved one. Bringing loved ones together is a way not only to honor the deceased, but also to comfort one another. You can most effectively reconcile yourself to the death of a loved one by talking openly with others, according to Mary Polce-Lynch, a developmental psychologist, in the Virginia Women’s Center article “Grieving and Ways to Cope.” Invite family members and close friends of the deceased for a night of remembrance. Serve a favorite meal and play the favorite music of your lost loved one as you take turns sharing memories.
Many people choose to honor the deceased by making a monetary donation to a cause that was meaningful to the loved one or by establishing a new fund. If your loved one personally supported a charity, you could donate to the same charity. If the death has corresponded to financial instability for the individual's family, consider contacting your bank or credit union to set up a memorial fund by which you can accept donations for the family. Based on the resources available to you, you might consider setting up a scholarship fund in the name of your loved one.
Completing Unfinished Work
Some people feel they can honored the deceased when they complete tasks they know the deceased cared about, according to social psychologist Judith Johnson in the Huffington Post article "Honoring the Memory of a Deceased Loved One." Activities can range from completing repair projects to gathering photos from extended family to finishing the scrapbook your loved one was working on.
Jae Kemp has been writing and editing professionally since 2010. In addition to reviewing novels, memoirs and psychology/self-help books for major review services, Kemp has served as a copywriter, commercial and creative editor, and staff article writer.