Sunday, March 21, 2010

How to Create a Lasting Tribute

Relaxing with the Sunday newspaper is a pleasure that gets me out of bed. With a large mug of coffee at hand, I rather quickly find myself browsing the death notices: anybody I know? And as a funeral home employee, what are other firms doing?


I was gratified (but surprised) to see that a column, spun off of a local parents' website, asked users: 

How do you remember loved ones you've lost?  

Responses included things like:
  • baking cookies with grandmother's recipe
  • wearing a piece of mother's jewelry
  • feeling hugged by wearing brother's coat
  • planting a memorial tree, and
  • planting daisies over beloved dog's grave
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I applaud all of these gestures for bringing comforting memories to the bereaved. In my book, I do link thoughtful gestures with condolence. Can we harvest any condolence ideas from the list? Let's try:
  • If you know a friend's grandmother loved to bake, you could bring a home-baked item to her house with a note expressing the connection.
  • If you remember your aunt wore unique jewelry, or always looked so fashionable, your note to a cousin can share such a memory.
  • After noticing how special that coat has become to your co-worker, your note can share an observation about such a tribute. Perhaps you have cherished a hand-me-down garment, too.
  • A memorial planting--anywhere--is a lovely gesture and well worth sharing in a condolence note.
I devote a chapter in the book to acknowledging pet loss, and will discuss that in an upcoming post. The point of this little exercise is to help you connect sympathy with action. Though you cannot change the reality of death, if you yearn to DO SOMETHING, there are many opportunities!

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