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Memorialize Your Loved One This Memorial Day

by Mary Obey

No matter what happens in life, there is always one option for us: we can choose how we react to what has happened. For example:

  • We can visualize a positive outcome rather than imagine the worst.
  • We can celebrate what we have left rather than only mourn what has been lost.
  • We can recommit ourselves, our energies to overcoming the hard time.
  • We can act with dignity, like a survivor and not like a victim.
  • We can take charge of things over which we do have control, and accept what is beyond our control.
  • We can work to make something positive come out of every tragedy.
  • We can accept the truth that no crisis is permanent—that things and feelings change for the better.
  • We can seek out support from others who have suffered in similar ways, and take comfort that we are not alone.

No matter how difficult and how painful this time is, choose your reaction! "As a man thinketh, so is he, and as a man chooseth, so is he." ~ Emerson. "Be there a will, and wisdom finds a way." ~ George Crabbe.

Memorial Day is traditionally kept for remembering our loved ones who have died. Some people choose to visit the cemetery or attend services in their house of worship. Others decide to spend the day with friends or celebrate the beginning of summer with a barbecue. Here are some ways to make Memorial Day a more meaningful day for you:

  • ·Write a letter to your loved one telling him/her how much you miss them today. Talk about the things you miss doing with him/her, the places you used to go to, and the subjects you used to discuss together. Go on to write about the things which are different now that he/she are no longer with you. Perhaps you are able to be involved without guilt, in something he/she never enjoyed doing when they were alive. Write your letter with honesty, but also with openness toward the new challenges life is offering you.
  • Visit a place the two of you enjoyed going to together. It might be somewhere you have not wanted to visit since he/she died. If it is too hard to go alone, consider taking a trusted friend with you. Remember the good times the two of you shared. Allow yourself to smile.
  • Look through memorabilia, such as scrap books, photographs, and other mementos. Share them with family members or friends. If some items are too personal, keep them just for yourself.

Memorial Day is a perfect time to recall the love you, and your spouse, parent, child, or friend had for each other. It was one of a kind! It was special!

The above material was excerpted from Lifeline newsletters, written by Rev. Victor M. Parachin, and Rev. Janet W. Parachin. Used with permission from Ahlgrim&Sons LTD.

In May the first year after Elt died, I had a Memorial Birthday party for him. I realized that his birthday would be falling on a Saturday, and I didn't want to be alone, so I invited relatives and friends to come with pictures, and share their favorite stories about him.

After his death, when I thought about him, which was constantly, I could only visualize what he looked like the day he had died, not when he was still healthy. One of our friends was kind enough to bring a picture of Elt, and me, together at one of our conventions. He had a big smile, and that twinkle in his eye, that we were all so used to seeing. I placed the picture on my refrigerator so I would see it constantly, and then was able to start remembering him as he was before he became ill.

The lack of "power of concentration" is very normal for a person who has lost a loved one, so don't be alarmed! We need to be especially careful when we are driving a car or doing something else that could be hazardous to our health. It would be pretty scary to get somewhere, and not remember if I had stopped at all of the stop signs, etc.

Check out a support group. Being a part of the support groups for widowed people was a big help for me because it was comforting to know that I wasn't the only one experiencing these things.

Mary Obey is a parishioner at St. Thomas, in Palatine, IL, coordinator for Begin Again and Joyful Again, support groups for the widowed. For information, please call 708-354-7211.

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