The birthday of your deceased brother should not be overlooked, as it can be an opportunity to help you with your grieving process. Coming up with ways to honor a deceased loved one can bring a positive focus to a person's grief, according to the PBS article, "Getting Through the Holidays: Advice from the Bereaved," by psychologist Camille Wortman.
Visit the Grave Site
Pay a visit to your deceased brother's burial site to honor him on his birthday. The Sutter Health article, "Nurturing Memories/Healing Grief," suggests bringing along items with special meaning to place at the grave site. Prepare a handwritten birthday card to lay at the grave. Fill the card with birthday messages that you would express to him if he were still in your presence. You could also bring a birthday balloon bouquet with you. Balloon releases are a ritual that can be continued for his birthday year after year. Write a birthday note to stick in each one before the balloons are inflated. Release the balloons to the sky as a tribute to your brother.
Memorial Birthday Dinner
If your brother were still alive, he would probably be enjoying his favorite foods for his birthday meal. Ask other family members and close friends of your deceased brother to join you on his birthday for a meal at a restaurant he often frequented. Alternatively, invite everyone over for a home cooked meal at your place. Prepare all your brother's favorite foods as part of the menu. Let each guest share their favorite memory of him at the dinner table. Sutter Health suggests holding a toast to honor the deceased person, or you could bring out a birthday cake for dessert and blow out the candles in remembrance of him.
Donation in Sibling's Name
To help others as you honor your brother, use the funds you would have spent on a birthday present to make a monetary donation in his honor. If he died from a terminal illness, such as cancer, you could make a donation to an organization that aids in research or finding a cure for the disease. Alternatively, Dr. Wortman recommends working toward a value or goal that was important to the deceased person. Perhaps you can donate to an organization that builds houses for the homeless if your brother often volunteered at a shelter or to an veterinary hospital if your brother adored dogs.
Newspaper Birthday Memorial
Honor your deceased brother by having a memorial printed in a newspaper. Check or call your local newspaper to see the submission requirements, such as the number of words or lines allotted. Plan a well-thought out birthday message to express to your deceased sibling and let the newspaper readers know that not even death can separate the close bond you had with your brother. Consider having a picture included of the both of you. Tell family members and friends to look for the memorial in the paper on his birthday or to view the online version. Preserve the printed memorial in a frame and hang it on a wall.
Wannikki Taylor is a professional writer with a Bachelors of Arts in journalism from Temple University. She serves as a children's columnist and covers family entertainment for several print and online publications. She specializes in games, crafts and party planning ideas for kids and their families.
Image Source/Photodisc/Getty Images