5 Ways to Honor Someone Who Died by Suicide
For most people, the holidays are a joyful time to look forward to; putting up the Christmas tree, decorating your home with Christmas lights and baking cookies — who doesn’t like that? But if you’re a suicide loss survivor like myself, the holidays can be overwhelming. This article aims to reach out to those who have lost a loved one to suicide and may need support during the holiday season.
If you’re a suicide loss survivor, you’ve probably experienced a great amount of guilt, but it’s important you understand that what happened wasn’t your fault. This article isn’t about your loved one, it’s about you. Your loved one is OK, and they want you to be OK as well.
Many people confuse the term “letting go” with forgetting your loved one and what happened to them. This is a misconception. It’s OK to remember and miss your loved one — give yourself permission to cry and to feel sad. Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting your loved one, it means you learned to accept what happened, you learned to forgive yourself and you decided to move forward with your life while always keeping your loved one’s memory alive in your heart, mind and soul. You’re letting go of the pain, the guilt, the “what if’s?” and the unchangeable, and you’re replacing it with forgiveness, love and gratitude for the time spent together and the wonderful memories you shared together.
The holidays won’t be the same without your loved one, but you can still honor them while enjoying the time you have with those who surround you. So how can you honor your loved one?
1. Donate to a foundation in their name.
What was your loved one passionate about? Keep their memory alive by keeping their dreams alive. If you’re not sure what charity your loved one preferred, think of one you would like to impact and share your experience.
2. Cook a recipe they liked.
Preparing and sharing a meal is a wonderful bonding experience. Making a loved one’s dish is a way to stay connected to them. Enjoy the meal like they used to do. Share stories and moments you lived together. Laugh and cry. You and your guests will be touched.
3. Look at photos and share stories.
It’s OK to remember your loved one, share the happy moments with a grateful heart. Even if they are no longer physically with you, by doing this you keep them alive. Remember: your loved one is OK, be grateful for the time shared and always honor their memory.
4. Think of positive ways you can help others.
The easiest way to honor your loved one is to use your story and what happened towards something positive. Think of how you can contribute to society and help others, maybe in your community or maybe in a specific sector or a specific cause. This is a very personal decision, only you know how you can do this best, but some ideas may be: creating a support group where others can speak about their experiences, planting trees in your loved one’s name, starting a foundation in their name, creating a scholarship in their name, etc.
5. Heal yourself and better yourself.
The best way you can honor your loved one’s memory is by being able to heal yourself from what happened. What happened isn’t easy, and you cannot get through it alone. Seek professional help and talk to someone. You deserve to move on from what happened, you deserve to smile, be happy and enjoy what time you have left. Use the holidays to seek help and to heal yourself. The holidays may be tough, but you are tougher. Remember: your loved one is OK and they want you to be OK.
I hope this article helps you in some way. My best wishes and love to every beautiful soul that reads this. Hoping you have a blessed holiday season.
In honor and memory of my little brother, Luis, who died by suicide June 13, 2018. I miss you and I love you.
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