Jonathan would have been 22 Thursday.
Kids birthday decorations.
This has been one of the hardest years for my daughter in particular. The youngest, she has fewer memories with her brother. This is a sizable loss and she is feeling it deeply. So what do you do when memories soften, or you don’t have them at all?
Make new ones.
There is so much healing power in acknowledging the memories we do have and then creating new memories with our loved ones in mind.
- Celebrate their Life: So we went to the dollar store, purchased streamers, graduation decorations and birthday signs to celebrate Jonathan.
- Talk About Them: I asked Natalie some questions about her brother today:
- What do you remember about how your brother looked? His sparkling blue eyes.
- What is a favorite memory of Jonathan? When it was his birthday and his friends had a Nerf battle and I was the princess he protected.
- What is one thing you wish you could do with Jonathan? Ride horses together.
- Photo Album: She and I are looking through pictures to find pictures of her with her brother so that she can look back and see who they were together, but we are also looking forward with Jonathan. How can she love him, laugh with him, celebrate his life overlapping hers? We find ways to love others more deeply, discuss him, and keep stepping forward with his life making ours better. By no stretch is remembering on this level easy, but being moved with compassion for others struggling, because we understand Jonathan’s and our own despair, can profoundly change the world for the better.
Our favorite trail at the cemetery!
- Help Others: If you have lost a loved one to suicide here are some ideas we are currently looking at:
- Helping homeless youth
- Because my children are younger we are looking at serving meals
- Making care bags
- Share your survivor testimony with others
- Each survivor story is unique
- Others need hope and encouragement
- Read to the elderly/or children
- Life can be so lonely for a neighbor or person in a nursing home
- Do a suicide prevention walk as a family
- Seek Support
- Hospice Community CentersMy children and I have benefited greatly from the support of the counselors at hospice
- They helped me to stay connected with my children’s grief while grieving in my own unique way
- Gave practical and fun ways to grieve with hope together
What types of new memory activities have helped your families to grieve with hope? Please comment below with ideas, support groups, personal experiences in your area.