Here’s something that no one tells you. Everything in your life changes drastically when someone you love dies. And it’s the things that you never think about. Not just the holidays and birthdays. Songs are triggering. Restaurants. TV Shows. No day feels the same. Different is your new normal.
But here’s the silver lining. I’ve been grieving for 6 years and my one certainty is that happiness is a choice and creating moments of joy is a new pastime for me. I think learned after year one that creating new traditions to honor my mother would massage my grief in a way I didn’t know that I needed.
So here are 4 fun traditions that you can do by yourself or with your family. Let’s start this year!
1. Send a Note to Heaven
Next Holiday season, gather your friends and family and craft a note to your departed loved one, telling them all that happened throughout the year or whatever’s on their mind. On Christmas morning, put your notes into balloons, fill the balloons with helium, and let them fly. Then go on to enjoy the Holiday, knowing that your loved one is with you in spirit on that special day.
2. Participate in a Charity Run/Walk
If your community has an organized run or walk every year, make it a point to participate in this event each year as a family, and dedicate your efforts to your departed loved one. You can even make t-shirts to let everyone know that you are a team and to make people aware of your cause.3. Annual Family PictureIt’s amazing how much we change in just one year. You may not notice the changes in your mother’s face or how much your son has grown because you see them so often. But if you take a picture each year and put the pictures side by side, you’re bound to notice a significant difference. This is a great way to slow down time for just a moment with your family, and you’ll never regret having all of those pictures to look back at over the years.
3. Create a Family Bucket List
Wouldn’t it be great to have a family-focused bucket list, separate from your own? The list would include fun things that you could do as a family and each year, you could pick an activity from the bucket list. You could even do that activity on a day of significance, like the anniversary of your loved one’s death, or their birthday.
Because we are so used to old traditions making new traditions isn’t always easy. But as you start to engage in these new traditions, you’ll realize that you still have something to celebrate. This is how you lead with gratitude. Your loving family, and the time you got to spend with your loved one here on Earth.