Remembering Them

Celebrating a Birthday

Instead of doing something on the day he died, our family chooses to celebrate his life on his Birthday. Each year we do something different together that Ben liked to do. We’ve been zip-lining, snowmobiling, rock climbing and last year we went skydiving. Our brother was an adventurer. He died so young and still had a million adventures ahead. We are honoring him by doing the things he loved and the ones he didn’t get to do. Mom bakes his favorite chocolate chip cake and we place five candles on it. One candle for each sibling and the number five is also symbolic of his Birthday May 5th. Ben bought lottery tickets every payday, so we each buy five lottery tickets on his Birthday. And you know what? One of us usually wins something. We cannot bring our brother Ben back, but we can continue to remember his life with adventure, cake and lottery tickets.

Viva Italia!

Rose loved to travel and her favorite of all was Italy. In her Will she left a travel fund for her children and grandchildren. She documented every trip with photos, journals and scrapbooks. Her travel agent was given instructions to help her family members with their travel plans. This woman was organized! Her hospice nurse explained that Rose enjoyed planning her last wishes and it helped her cope during difficult medical treatments. It gave her something to look forward to knowing that her love of travel would continue on with her children and their children. She also created a cookbook of her favorite Italian recipes that will be handed down from generation to generation. At her Life Celebration everyone received a copy of her famous Lasagna recipe.

He Lived for Golf

Every year during the month he died we get together for a round of golf. The first year we all wore shirts and hats that said, “Remembering Tom”. The next year we had coasters made and bought everyone in the clubhouse bar a shot of tequila. “Here’s to Tom!” we all shouted as we raised our glasses in a toast to our friend. I can’t quite explain it, but there is something special that happens when we celebrate his life doing something he loved to do. We miss him and will always remember his celebratory Life Celebration at the Country Club. Everything about it was “so Tom” and it was as if he was right there with us the whole time.

Closing Thoughts

There are so many ways to remember loved ones who are no longer with us on this earthly realm. It has been said we die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the very last time. Let’s keep remembering them, say their name and include symbolism or rituals too. It means so much to stay in touch with families and hear of the many ways they continue to celebrate their loved ones.

Anita Larson is a Ceremony Leader and Officiant who blogs about her experiences with Celebrations of Life. Providing uncommon ideas and encouraging her readers to “Think Outside the Coffin®” when planning a Fabulous Farewell.

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