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💙 I dedicate this post in memory of River Newberry. 💙
In a recent post, I wrote about the importance of commemorating those who have left us too soon. Although many people still find it taboo, grief is a natural state that represents the love we have for the person who left us.
You may at some point find yourself thinking about a loved one who is no longer with us. Making a commemorating gesture is a great way to remember that person. In doing so, you recognize the importance of this person and of taking a moment to reflect. Include our children in such a gesture can be a wonderful way to teach them the meaning of remembrance and compassion. Even if you didn’t get the chance to get to know the person well, making a memorial gesture can still bring solace.
If you can share your gesture with the family of the loved one, I guarantee that they will appreciate it. For my part, when someone tells me about a gesture made in memory of Zackaël, it warms my heart, in part because they’ve initiated it.
There are many creative and meaningful ways to keep the memory of loved ones alive. Share these ideas with your child(ren) and let them chose one that you could all do together. You can even ask them if they have their own ideas.
20 commemorative gestures anyone can make
- Light a candle.
Ligthing a candle is a beautiful and easy way to commemorate a loved one. The other day, before dinner, I lit a candle in honor of Zackael. I told Maxandre, “I’m lighting this candle because I’m thinking about Zackaël a lot right now.”
- Make a donation in memory
A charity of choice is often chosen for donations in memory of the deceased or someone who is sick. In our case, CHEO mailed us a list of the names of people who have contributed in Zackaël’s honor. We are grateful to everyone who donated to a charity in his honor, plus they are for a good cause!
- Share a memory about them
The sharing of memories affirms the worth of the person who died. In addition, the memories others share are often memories that we have not heard before.
It was heartwarming to receive messages from the parents of Zackaël’s friends about their little relationship and the games they would play with him. We are also thankful to everyone who contributed to Zackaël’s honour book which is filled with great memories.
- Wear their favorite color
In honour of Zackael’s birthday on February 26th, I asked Maxandre if he wanted to do something special. Again this year, Maxandre wants us all to wear green, as well everyone at the school. It’s a small tradition that we started last year, and we’re excited to continue it.
As for myself, Zackaël is always in my heart, so I wear his colour as much as I can. You will probably see me wear green way more than before. That’s the Zackäel in me.
- Create a ritual
A ritual is a concrete gesture that we take and which translates into a symbolic meaning that we give it, it could be anything.
- Keep a bookmark or photo on display
If you received a commemorative bookmark at the funeral, everytime you use it as bookmark, you will remember the person. Another option is to display it somewhere in your home. You can also print a photo or cut out the obituary from the newspaper or online.
When Isabelle, someone I didn’t know, sent me a message about Zackaël’s picture being on their fridge (her picture below), it touched me so much.
- Continue to wear something associated with the person
Here are some examples:
- For Zackaël, we distributed small green ribbons. When I still see them on the coats, it always warms my heart. Zackaël’s teacher also told me that a friend wore her ribbon on on her graduation hat in June.
- In hockey, it’s always touching to watch players continuing to use green tape on their sticks.
- Another option is to add a sticker with the person’s initials on an object.
- Last year, Zackaël’s best friend wore a picture of Zackaël on his hockey jersey, thank you Alexi.
- Update your Facebook frame in the person’s honour
If a Facebook frame has already been created, you can add it to your profile photo. If not, you can create it yourself or even with your children, it’s a great way to use technology and be creative at the same time! Here’s our latest frame!
- Grow a plant or a tree in their honour
You can dedicate a tree or a plant in the person’s honour.
Our front yard tree is getting old and sickly, so when we replace it, we will choose a beautiful tree in Zackael’s honour. A lovely tree at was planted at the school in which we installed some little green lights. The plant below is once I received from Madame Claudine at the anniversary date (Nov.17 2020).
- Personalize a gift
Personalized gifts are always very touching. There are several online options to order gifts that can be personalized: keepsake pendant, memorial lantern, memorial frame, christmas ornament, etc.
- Share their name, memories and comment
The sharing of pictures and stories is an obvious way to remember our loved ones, but let’s not forget that a comment that someone adds to the picture is a commemorative gesture in of itself. By mentioning their name or reading about the deceased and also leaving notes and messages, you demonstrate your compassion the life of the deceased.
- Organize a vigil
You can offer to help organizing a vigil, which can also be held several years after the passing. We had one last year in Zackaël’s honour, and I’m sure we will continue to do so. It was a very nice event. Carl and I needed this and I think it was good for Maxandre to see everyone come out to remember his brother as well.
I have not yet taken the time to share some of the beautiful moments and music from the evening with you, but I promise I will in an upcoming post!
- Name something in their memory
Some objects (or even people) can be named in honor of the deceased. This can be tricky, so it’s best to discuss it with loved ones first.
For example, if a friend named his stuffed animal Zackaël in his memory, that would be a touching gesture.
- Visit the monument
In our case, we have a monument at the site of the accident as well as the monument will we have at the cemetery. In addition to a moment of reflection, many people add a little something (photo, stuffed animal, lantern, candle, ribbon, etc.). Some will even help with the maintenance/upkeep by removing snow etc.
- Support the bereaved’s project
The bereaved will often need a project to help them cope with the bereavement and move forward in their journey. I know other grievers who have published a book, become an entrepreneur, or some who blog like me. I know how important it is to show our support for their projects.
- Create a memory box or commemorative wall
You can create a memory box with: photos, memorials, their funeral bookmark, letters or messages you write to them, etc. Another option is to have a small mount on a shelf or a wall with framed photos.
As I started this post, Charlie’s mom Krista sent me a picture of a box they created in Zackael’s memory, so adorable!
17. Create a photo slideshow or a photobook
If you have some photos of the loved one, you can create a photobook with an online tool. This also allows you to make copies for others. If creating a photobook is not up your alley, don’t forget to send the photos to the family. They might not have seen those pictures before and will be so happy to get them.
Another option is to offer to help make a photobook or a slideshow as a memory gift for the family. We will be forever grateful for the help we got with the making of Zackäel honour photobook.
This picture shows one that created by Zackaël’s daycare teachers, we love it!
18. Write a card
A card can be addressed to the deceased person or to relatives of the deceased person. It’s never too late to send a sympathy card. Someone gave us a card a year after the accident with a nice message.
19. Hang an object in a tree
With a memorial tree, a small decoration or a battery-powered light, can be added to it. We even saw some people had put green ribbons in their Christmas tree, even this past Christmas.
20. Be creative or have something created
One beautiful way to commemorate is to create art in honor of a loved one; whether it’s sculpture, music, photography or writing. It is also a great way for yourself or your children to be creative and pass the time, especially during Covid-19 winter months!
I am so excited about a painting in memory of Zackaël that will be done by a talented artist Véro Boisvert (a distant cousin who is also from Hearst). Check out her Instagram for her latest work, you won’t be disappointed! To ensure you don’t miss my post about the painting she will make, be sure to subscribe to my blog!
I want to sincerely thank everyone who made commemorative gestures over the last 15 months. I wish I could have named everyone who did, but I want to tell you that we are forever grateful.
I was planning to share a little story about Zackaël, but as this post is already on the longer side, I will share it in my next post!
That’s it for now!
Please share your thoughts in the comments below. I appreciate them so much and your private messages!
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