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9 Ways to Incorporate Grief in Your Day-to-Day Life

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Grief doesn’t ask you if it’s OK if it interrupts your day. Instead, it comes in like a thief in the night – stealing your joy and peace, all while dancing through the memories of what or who you’ve lost with little to no derision. Living with this is hard, as it’s disruptive in the worst ways. However, there are ways to incorporate grief into your life that make it a little less troublesome, where you can still honor the past while living in the present, and maybe even hopefully looking towards the future.

1. Keep their favorite flower in your house.

I love this so much. When deciding how you want to go about this, your options will be going for real stems or silks. While I love real plants, my place isn’t set up to keep flowers alive for long and depending on the flowers it could get pricey pretty quickly. The pros of having a real flower is that you get to tend to and nurture it every single day. Additionally, it gives off lovely aromas. Cons? Well, having a thing that can die to commemorate someone who died could be complicated! Thus, silks may be your best friend. 

2. Use their favorite coffee mug in the mornings or at night.

Were they a coffee drinker? Did they have a favorite mug?

Sometimes we can’t keep everything from a family member who passed, but a mug very rarely takes up space. Using that family member’s mug in the mornings is a great way to honor them, and keep something they loved in good use.

3. Use a number that makes you think of them for a phone passcode.

Most phones have a passcode or password lock. Using a passcode that reminds you of them (birthdays, favorite foods or dishes they made, etc.,) is a way to use their memory in a very tactile way.

4. Wear a piece of clothing that they used to own.

It can be small, like a watch or some jewelry. Maybe it’s a tie or a pair of shoes that you still fit into. It can also be larger — old pajamas or shirts that you can wear to bed, trench coats, etc., all work!

5. Keep a nightly journal where you write to them, telling them about your day.

I love writing letters. If you already journal this may feel natural to you, but keep a journal where you can write specifically to them about your day. Put down what happened, who you talked to, what you’re worried about, etc. It still allows you to journal, while also honoring them and your grief all at once.

6. I know ringtones are pretty 2000’s, but make their favorite song your ringtone.

Look. I know it’s not 2006 anymore and you’re calling people on an iPhone or some other smart phone and not an LG Chocolate or Motorola Razr (yes I still have my old one) but I still love ringtones and I think this is a nifty way to honor someone.

7. Use their photos or cards as bookmarks.

If you’re a reader, this will help save the corners of your books, while also allowing you to see their face. 

8. If you’re grieving a place and you own any remnant of that space, put it in an area you’re in every single day. 

I own a fake flower that was in my grandmother’s house, and it sits in my car so I see it whenever I drive. On good days, I see it and smile and on bad days I’m able to carry those places with me.

9. Buy a candle or a scent that makes you think of them and light it throughout your day.

I’m a very scent-sensitive person, so this is a good way to embrace them like a warm hug in a way that’s comfortable and not too overwhelming throughout the day. 

These are just some basic ways. It gets more specific when you start thinking of who and what you’re specifically grieving, as you’re able to build more personalized things into your day. To think of your own things, sit with who or what they were, what small things bring them to your mind, what routines you have in your daily life and what grounds you, and how you can pair all of it together.

Grief is tough to navigate, and as much as people say “they’re never really gone,” they are, but that doesn’t mean their entire presence has to disappear as well.

Getty image by PeopleImages

Originally published: June 13, 2022
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