How-to Prepare for a Loved One’s End of Life

Your acts of care and connection sustained your loved one through a difficult, and perhaps long passage. Sharing what you have learned, cultivating happiness and finding new meaning can inspire hope as you experience your “new normal.”

Creating a Lasting Legacy

You can keep your loved one’s memory alive by creating a legacy for future generations to honor. You may also do special things to remember them throughout the year on holidays, birthdates or on the anniversary of their passing.

Remember Your Loved One on Holidays and Anniversaries

Remembering and honoring a deceased loved one can be different for each person. Some people will spend time in quiet reflection, some may prefer a brief acknowledgement, and others may want to focus on their memories. Consider creating a new ritual to celebrate the life of your loved one, perhaps one that can be repeated annually. Consider the following ways to honor and remember your loved:

  • Take flowers to the gravesite or memorial site
  • Look at favorite photos and videos with family and friends
  • Turn digital photos into a digital photo album
  • Donate some of your loved one’s belongings to a shelter or charity
  • Make a charitable donation or establish a scholarship or fund in their name
  • Volunteer with a charity or cause that was important to your loved one
  • Plan a memorial service or candle light vigil on the anniversary of their passing
  • Update a memorial website with new memories or share condolences from others
  • Reach out to someone who has experienced a similar loss
  • Host a dinner party and invite those who knew your loved one
  • Cook your loved one’s favorite dish, use one of their recipes to prepare a meal, or host a pot luck and ask people to bring a dish that your loved one enjoyed
  • Light a candle in honor of your loved one
  • Visit or spend time in a place where you feel close to your loved one
  • Read special notes, a letter, email or card from your loved one
  • Make a CD mix of music that reminds you of your loved one
  • Do something your loved one would have enjoyed
  • Watch your loved one’s favorite movie
  • Create a personal memorial or keepsake box with photos and personal items
  • Spend time journaling about your feelings and memories of your loved one
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