Love Lives On

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Hi Everyone,

Today, October 10th, 2017, is the long-awaited day that Amazon starts shipping copies of my book, When You Lose Someone You Love. It’s filled with excerpts from the grief journals I kept after my husband died, and is a gift of comfort for anyone who has lost someone they love. I initially self-published a smaller version of the book, but ultimately decided to focus my creative energies on writing and designing rather than selling books. Of all the books I’ve written, this is the one that’s closest to my heart. I’m excited about the launch and would be grateful if you’d let your friends and family know about it. If you get a copy, I’d love to know what you think– you can leave a comment on the blog, or do a review on Amazon.

My husband would be turning sixty October 21st. I’d like to do something special to commemorate his milestone birthday; something which honors him and helps keep his legacy alive. Since we shared a passion for books, I’ve been thinking of embarking on a new title: “60 Ways to Keep Your Loved One’s Legacy Alive”, and I would love your help coming up with ideas. One of the ways I keep Andy’s memory alive is by creating art which expresses my feelings and celebrates the things he loved. This is one example:

Has someone important to you died? If so, how do you keep your loved one’s memory alive? Please leave a comment letting me know what you do… as an incentive, I’ll pick one person at random and send them a signed copy of When You Lose Someone You Love. I know I’m not the only one interested in what I call meaningful ‘Remembrance Rituals’. As a further incentive, if we get a strong enough response, we can all collaborate on this book… I’ll include the best ideas shared, give credit to whoever shared them, and include the name(s) of their loved one(s) in the dedication. Feel free to share more than one idea… we can all learn from one another. I am really looking forward to finding out what other people do.

Over the past six years I’ve come to learn that Love Lives On… those who once touched your life in love will forever live on in your heart.

Stay Zenspired,

Joanne

PS If you’d like to order a signed, personalized copy of the book, you can do so on my website, www.zenspirations.com.

42 thoughts on “Love Lives On”

  1. Over the past few years, as I’ve lost family members, I am sure to get one of their coffee cups. I use them each morning and never fail to smile at some memory they invoke.

  2. I think this is a wonderful idea Joanne. My Dad died 19yrs ago in December and I will never forget the Christmas tree in the church at his funeral. A lot of the guests at the funeral wore red and not black, which leads me to my remembrance ritual… some years ago I had the opportunity to paint a porcelain bauble and I decided to create it in memory of my father with lots of red. Each year after my children have finished decorating our tree, I take five minutes alone to bless my tree, our Christmas and family time, and my father. He has missed so much of my life, it feels really important to keep him as part of my family.
    Sending you blessings

  3. My dad passed away the day after your husband (same year) My mother passed away 3 months later in Nov. Dad was 92 and Ma was 93. I saw something that mentioned if you see cardinals that means your loved one is visiting you and they show up when you need them most. I have a bird feeder. Ma had a bird feeder, too, and loved watching the birds so when a cardinal pair showed up I began calling them Ma and Dad. Each year, I began picking out a special cardinal ornament for the Christmas tree.

  4. I am following this thread with interest…and dread. My husband has terminal cancer and is fighting with all his might to be here for Christmas. My mantra has been “don’t spend a minute I have left with him thinking of life without him”…I will have the rest of my life to deal with that. This group always has wonderful ideas and I really hope to discover positive ways to cherish our life together.
    Tomorrow is our 31st anniversary.
    Now I am off to buy your book!

    1. chris, I am so sorry to hear all this, but am so glad that you are staying positive. Please know, even as strangers, there is love & compassion for you & your family.
      I don’t know if you are in Joanne’s Facebook Group, but I used to be an administrator there & unfortunately, time has not allowed me to get on Facebook at all lately.. If you are not a member, I highly suggest it.
      You can find a link for it here on Joanne’s site..
      My thoughts will be with you as I wish you & your husband a Happy Anniversary.
      There are really no more words I can say except you are cared for.
      With blessings,
      Jamie Torres

      1. Thank you Jamie! Yes, I am a member of the FB group. I don’t post much there because my husband is often looking at FB while resting and I don’t want him to see a post from me with anguish of his passing. I am not hiding my emotions, but he doesn’t need to see it on FB.
        Your kind words and thoughts warm my heart – thank you so much!

    2. Hi, Chris, your post and your mantra is very inspiring, but hard to do at times. Just wanted you to know that your strength is admirable, and I will take tomorrow’s “regretful” thoughts and worries for you. Don’t know if you’re Christian but I will be praying for you and your husband tomorrow. Let any negative thoughts go, and remember that I will be praying. I hope you two have an awesome anniversary! Thanks again for your inspiration!

      1. Thank you for your kind words Kris!! We had a lovely, quiet anniversary. We spent the day together, talking about old times and holding hands, just being together.
        Yes, we firmly believe in the power of prayer – and we appreciate everyone that takes a moment out of their day to bow their head for us! Thank you!

  5. This thought really resonated with me. I don’t know who wrote it. Perhaps, you can give it your beautiful lettering and design.

    It’s difficult when the person who has give you so many wonderful memories, becomes a memory.

  6. When my husband became disabled and was homebound, he and I were together 24/7. We talked and talked and talked. As he shared stories from his childhood, teenage years, and young married life, I realized what a natural story teller he was and thought it was a shame that I was the only one hearing these tales of his life. I suggested that he put “his story” down on paper for his children. Since he and his children’s mother had divorced when the children were young, I wanted the kids to be able to better know him through his own words, not just from what they were told by others. He liked the idea and spent months typing out stories from his life, beginning with his childhood. He also included the genealogy research he had done on their family. It was fabulous. We printed out a copy for each of his three children. They loved it. Since it was so well received, he wrote a sequel that included me and our life together. He even asked me to write a paragraph or two from my own perspective of who he was. Now that he is gone, I go back to his story occasionally and share bits and pieces of it with my friends on Facebook. That’s one way that I keep his memory alive. I’m also planning to write a journal of my own to share with his children and grandchildren because I want them to know their dad from my perspective, too. I miss him more and more with each passing day and my love for him has continued to grow with each day as well.

  7. When our newborn son died, friends gave us a small tree to plant. That was 28 years ago. Another lady made us a scrapbook of photos from the hospital, and included cards and quotes like Dr Seuss, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” Sadly, we had to leave the state but the tree is still there when we go back, and we still have the scrapbook.

  8. Hi Joanne: The way I keep my husband’s memory alive is to tell stories…..some funny, some sad. It also helps my son, who was 22 years old when his dad passed.

  9. Joanne, October,10, 2017

    Today, yes this very day I learned that my dearest friend Thaila from college and finally, after decades, lost her life’s battle with Multiple Sclerosis. She suffered ENOUGH and yet her precious sweet spirit and her rock solid faith will forever be what we, family and friends remember about her.

    During my labor with my son December 10, 1988 my doctor decided a C section was in order. Midnight approached and preparations had been made. I asked if he could dawdle just a few moments! My son arrived at 12:11a.m. 12/11 and shared his day of birth with three dear souls including Thaila! She came to see us on this first Birthday shared with my firstborn and faithfully sent birthday greetings to him spanning over 2 decades. Keeping in touch with her mom will be part of keeping her memory alive. Celebrating their shared Birthday will be another. Today tho, after many tears shed , having learned of her leaving this life, I will drive to the beach and see if I can walk, with out sobbing. I WILL walk as for too long she was unable to even do that!

  10. Joanne, this is such a wonderful idea to give tribute to Andy and help others remember their loved ones.

    My family name means “lilac” so one thing I have started doing is to plant a lilac bush in my yard for my close family members I have lost. Each one gives me a beautiful place in my garden where I can remember my relationship with them as I water and tend to the garden’s needs.

  11. Hi Joanne,
    We lost my Mom a month ago and so far it has been a long, painful process to deal with. When my Dad is ready to go through Mom’s things I plan to have some of her clothing repurposed into a remembrance bear that I have seen online.

  12. 2 dear friends of ours lost children years ago. One was a daughter, just before senior prom, and 9 years ago the boy we loved was killed in Iraq. Every year on their birthdays and anniversary of their passage to heaven , I write letters to their Moms with a memory we have of their children. Ususally stories of days at our house when their Moms weren’t here. I feel it helps me keep their presence alive in our life as well.
    I appreciate your blog and I did send your short book to my widowed friend. She said it is “just how it is” and is thankful for your thoughts.

  13. I remember my husband on his birthday, our anniversary, and his passing date by calling family or friends and talking about happier times. It has been very uplifting to learn the impression he had on others. There have been times that they get more from the “visit” than I do.

    It is hard being the survivor.

    1. For several years, my husband Alvin and I would stay at Anna Maria Island. As soon as we got there we would eat at a waterfront restaurant across from the bay. On his angelversary, our daughters and I eat at that restaurant, take pictures of ourselves there, and visit the beach where we stayed.

  14. It has been over 20 years since a boyfriend of mine was murdered on my birthday.
    I had been pregnant with his child, but unfortunately had a miscarriage at 5 months .
    I regret my body for that.
    We were only together 3 years, but he was a great love in my life, and even though it has been such a long time ago, I know that he still visits me & sends signs that could only be from him, .I call his Mom to share my experiences & every year on his birth & death date
    My “remembrance ritual” is to wear his clothes on his birthday, January 18th, & sleep in his long johns at night.
    Thankfully the man I was with for 21 years after Gary died was totally understanding & supported me during times I felt his loss more than usual.
    The one thing that I will have forever is a matching tattoo that we had gotten together.
    I am so grateful for that, & the short time I had him in my life.

  15. My mother died in 1981 at 59 years old. In 1978 she gave me a beautiful fern plant as a gift for our new home in Florida. In 1998, when we moved to another home and town in Florida, I took the plant with me. It is big and beautiful and stands at our front door welcoming friends and family for almost 40 years. I feel my mother’s presence everyday.

  16. My husband’s brother, 16-years-old at the time, was tragically shot and killed by a police officer 22 years ago. Since my brother-in-law was autistic, every Christmas we take the money that we would have spent on a Christmas gift and send it to an autism society close to where he lived.

  17. Joanne – Thank you so much for sharing Andy with us and for all the work you do for those who have suffered a loss. My mother and I has always sent cards to one another. When dad died, I sent his birthday card and Fathers Day to the local chapter of the American Heart Associate along with a check made out to them as his “birthday gift.” They sent me a Valentine’s Day card with a beautiful note as long as I kept up the tradition. When my mother died, i kept up the same tradition by contributing a check in a card sent to her church. They sent me a card at Christmas and Easter.

    Everyone can do the same by sending a card and a check to some favorite charity of their loved one or perhaps a national organization who is fighting to find a cure or end the suffering of those who follow them. The check is nice but the card sent to them in care of the organization is what makes this special to me. Linda

  18. I found your page comforting. My mother passed away at the age of 92 on Sept. 20, 2917, I miss her dearly. Like others I’ve had losses in my life, a son in 2010 age 27, and my husband in 2012. Tomorrow, Oct 12, 2017 would have been our 43rd Anniversary. On Oct 23rd it will be 30 years since my father passed away. Somehow, my Mother has always been there for me, it’s strange not to have her. I think of the good times I’ve had with each of the members I’ve lost which gives me great comfort. My daughter is the one who now gives me great joy! I’ve always turned to drawing especially in times of stress. But now it seems so hard I just can’t seem to find my way back to my passion. My father was a great artist, he used to teach us lessons on Sunday afternoons and I treasure his pictures I have. Sorry if I’m rambling on. To all of you whom have lost loved ones, remember the good times and treasure those as well as the family you have left.

  19. When my friend Lucie lost her Papa . It was really hard on her. He was an artist and used to make little hearts for her as gifts. We were walking one day and saw these beautiful little heart shaped violets in the woods right after we were talking about him. We said look Papa sent that heart. To you! Whenever we go out we find heart shaped rocks or clouds and we remember . I told my daughter I hope to come to her in spirals, like fiddle heads, seashells, spider webs, and the tuft of hair on a babies head.

  20. Dear Joanne
    My father died 7 years ago.
    I wanted to keep a visual of him. Not just a photo. So I created a shadow box in his memory. He was an avid golfer and had a little medal golf cart on his bedside table. I have that in it along with his picture from when he was in the navy and the notes he wrote to remember the US dollar exchange equivalent of bills and coins he kept from foreign countries he served in. I also have the coins mounted and the paper money he collected. I also have a patch he wore when he took a part time job at a filling station whete he worked to earn a little more money to keep us 3 kids in catholic school. My dad liked to play the harmonica. That’s in there as well. Looking at it reminds me everyday of all the sacrifices he made for his country and family. He was an awesome dad! He would have been 80 this year.

  21. Hi Joanne, I own a retail shop in a little village named Dresden in Ohio. My husband, Steve, and I purchased a B&B in Dresden in 2005 and opened the retail shop in 2012. I started selling coloring books from Fox Chapel at our shop a couple of years ago and they were a hit. I received a copy of your book, “When You Lose Someone You Love” in today’s mail and cried as I read it. I lost my husband to a heart attack on June 13th of this year. He, also, was my husband, best friend, business partner and the “Fur-ther” of our ten cats. His loss has affected me so profoundly and the thoughts that I read in your book are things that I am discovering with each new day. Thank you for sharing from your heart and out of your grief. What a blessing!

  22. Our son Sammy died at 6 months old after a heart operation. We spent a lot of time in the hospital with him during his short life. One day, while we were sitting by Sammy’s bedside, tired and scared, a guy walked in with a bag of toys and gave us a rubber duck for him. We asked him what organization he was from, and he said he was just a guy handing out toys. We were so uplifted and touched by that gesture, that after Sammy died, we decided to be that guy. Every year we go to a toy store, buy a pile of toys, and go to the hospital, where they let us go room to room and hand out the toys. Nothing big and fancy, just little baubles. When asked where we are from, we say that someone did it for us once, and we are just paying it forward.

  23. I do random acts of kindness on our wedding anniversary each year … the number to match the number of years it would have been. I’ve done something a little different each year, whatever happens to speak to me and I include a little card that has my husband’s name on one side and ‘You Are Loved’ on the other.
    http://amyelomawidowsjourney.blogspot.com/2016/09/our-47th-wedding-anniversary.html
    I also purchased a pendant that has his photo on one side and our wedding kiss on the other. It’s teardrop-shaped and smooth and I wear it always. I grasp it in my hand whenever I’m somewhere new that I know he would have loved and feel that he is seeing that place through my eyes.

  24. My Mom passed away a year ago yesterday. She was an elegant, lady with an artist’s soul. She spent 20 years as a docent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY, and these were her most treasured memories until she met her great grand baby.
    To keep her alive to myself and my granddaughter I have hung many of her art works on my wall so we can see them and talk about them. Also for every holiday I make sure to give my granddaughter something that her Nanny would have given her (an easel, an art book, crayons) and tell her why she is getting that present.

  25. On my husband, Russ’, angelversary, I took balloons out, first to his headstone, then 5 miles east, where he lost control on the curve while riding his motorcycle. On the balloons, I wrote messages. As I said, I stopped first at his grave, where I sat for a bit with the balloons. Then at the curve in the road, I took the balloons out, placed them on the road, then cut them from the weight and watched them soar into the sky. I’m hoping the weather will be good for me to be able to do that again this year, which will be the two year anniversary.

  26. My Dear Joanne
    Since you have posted this I’ve been thinking. I really don’t have a way but have been trying to think of something since my Dad passed away almost 2 years ago. His birthday would have been next week.
    Reading both what you do to remember Andy and what others do has given me some ideas to ponder. I’m not sure what I’ll do yet but I do want to do something.
    I was very close to my maternal grandmother and although she has been gone many years, I actually got a yarzeit reminder yesterday, for her birthday I made a picture collage with a message which I posted on my Mother and sisters FB pages as well as mine.
    Nov is the Anniversary of 3 close family members passing, my dad and both of my maternal grandparents.
    Thank you for sharing your personal experiences with us and giving us inspiration and provokes mindful thinking.
    Toni

  27. Dear Joanne, my husband Adrian was an avid gardener, so when the English roses he planted are in bloom, I make a bouquet to put near his photograph and enjoy his smile and the scent at the same time. Also I saved two long sleeves shirts of his to wear, and feel like his arms are around me when I’m wearing them. His family are wonderful and I call his mom in England every Sunday.

  28. My husband Bruce used to garden and loved to take care of our yard. I never realized how much work was involved until the task became mine. A Butterfly Garden was planted at the school where I teach and he volunteered/socialized As he had to leave his job. I keep adding items from our yard, – wind chimes , his solar turtle , rocks from places we visited , ceramic houses, and whatever was special to him and I. Sometimes the butterfly bush and milk weed obscure their view, but I know that they are there.

  29. My mom died June 21,2017 and my oldest brother died just 39 days later. The night my mom died, I saw a beautiful rainbow. The night my brother died, we had gone to his favorite restaurant to eat and when we came out, there was a beautiful rainbow. God keeps His promises was my reminder.
    I have ideas of how I want to keep the memory of my mom, but just haven’t done anything yet. My sister-in-law framed one of her recipes and has it hanging in the kitchen. Right now I find comfort in looking at the pictures.

  30. Hi Again Joanne (part 2)

    I’ve spent almost the entire day with you in the back of my mind. Not really aware of it but iyou kept popping up at times while I was working a couple of #TheKindnessRocksProject rocks I’m making.
    Then a light bulb went off! Dad would be 67 on Oct 23, 2 days after Andy’s birthday.
    I’m going to have 67 Kindness Rocks finished and placed for people to find by the end of the day of his birthday. We need more kindness in the world right now, I think spreading it in my Dad’s honor is what I’m going to do this year!

    Thanks for being that little spark of inspiration and for your friendship.
    I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts Saturday
    Toni

  31. The way I keep my husband’s memory alive on his birthday in the morning I fast and stay in prayer it’s my way of giving it to GOD. Usually last about 4hrs or so, followed by a visit to the cemetery. Then the kids and I will do all his favorite stuff. He loved to cook so we cook one of his favorite meals while watching some of his favorite movies (he had several). Then will end the day telling Dad how much we love and miss him and talk to him as if he were right there in the room with us.
    On our anniversary I post a request on my Facebook page to let people know I am going to fast and stay in prayer all day for their marriages if they want to be on the prayer list they can send me a private message or reply in the comments for me to include them. The response is usually very high. Fasting and praying will be about 8hrs this day and afterwards I feel so amazing helping other marriages have what was denied to me.

  32. My Dad died ten years ago, when our first grandchild was one year old and the others had not yet been born. He had been a Captain for Pan American, so whenever we see a jet in the sky, one of us will say, “There goes Grandpa Valentine!” At the last two Fourth of July celebrations, my daughter wrote to tell me that her youngest jumped up to excitedly shout “Grandpa Valentine!” – confusing (or adapting) our tradition with the fireworks Grand Finale!

    My mother died a few years later. As I was growing up, she would often relay one of the sayings her Irish grandmother would repeat. A generation later, I would relay them to our daughter, adding my Mother’s own favorite sayings. My daughter and I chuckle as we pass them on to her children.

  33. Hi Joanne
    What I try and do for his Angelversary (Honoring his life) is to ask everyone to Light Up The Universe with candles. Justin lit candles for every reason.
    I also go to the beach on sunrise and sunset on that day and on our Wedding Anniversary. On our 10th wedding anniversary I gave 10 Acts of Kindness.

    I also put a Hawaiian flower lei in the ocean proclaiming our love.

  34. First off giant ((((HUGS)))) to you. My husband was only 46 when he passed away just 2 years ago. I’m still trying to find a new normal. My stepson lost a father so I have stepped in for him on Father’s Day and we have chosen a movie and place eat on that dayy. The first year without Ricky I bought some glass angel wing ornaments for our tree for him and found some beautiful clear hearts to hang. One for every year we were blessed to be together. This past Christmas I gifted all the kids a special ornament to hang on their tree in honor of him. I still have one child at home so her’s is put away for now. Next year I plan on planting Mimosa trees at my new house. Ricky helped me plant some at our home I had to move from a year before he died along with a butterfly garden he planted for me. More than anything I encourage people to say his name and tell stories. I have found that most people are afraid to mention him around me because they don’t want to upset me. Sure I might tear up a bit but it helps to know he is not forgotten.

  35. My husband, Brady, died suddenly from a brain aneurysm in September 2009. We had been married 34 years and were both 57. Because he was brain dead, he had to remain at the hospital for 24 hours. He had to be tested every few hours before they could legally take him off life support. It also gave the hospital time to find recipients for his organs. That night I ended up dying from a rare condition called Broken Heart Syndrome. By the time my family got me from his ICU room downstairs to the ER at Emory, I didn’t have s pulse. The doctors rushed me to surgery and I ended up on life support for several days. It has been a long journey. Then 9 months later my mother died and 11 months after that my dad died. It was a time of tremendous loss and grief. To honor my husband I have written a book telling our story. I hope to bring awareness to Broken Heart Syndrome and organ donation. My Remembrance Rituals include doing something special with our boys on my husband’s Angelversary.

  36. I have MANY rituals to honor those I love who have died. I lost my mother, father, and fiance all before the age of 30.

    For Mom
    For my mom, each year on her birthday, I pick out an especially delicious tiny dessert from a bakery. I buy flowers, and I pick out a card. I started this in my mid twenties, after years of feeling no connection to her (she died when I was 9). This annual ritual began to build a relationship with her still for me. In my heart, I had grown up feeling that I didn’t get to do certain things anymore because my mom was gone. So, this ritual changed that. Yes, I do still get to buy my mom flowers. And yes, I still get to pick out a card and write a heartfelt note to her about how much she means to me and how grateful I am for her. I may not get to physically give these things to her… but instead, I give them to myself. I have a private night to myself with flowers and dessert, and a light a few candles, and play some of her favorite music. I enjoy the dessert for her, and I write her a note in the card, which I keep in a box with others after. It has taught me that yes, I DO still get to celebrate the ones I love even when they are dead. And yes, I DO still get to have a relationship to her!

    One of the even better things about the above ritual is that I now have a stepdaughter who’s mom died around the same age as when I lost my own. And I’ve begun sharing this ritual with her. So now, we buy a small cake instead of an individual dessert, and there is more love there. And now we do this ritual on her mom’s birthday too. She especially loves the dessert part. 😉 What a beautiful thing that my mom and I get to share this connection with another little girl and her mom!

    For Dad
    For my dad, I do small things. We had a favorite song when I was growing up, and I play it at least once a week probably, and I just smile and think of him and our bond. I also listen to his favorite radio show, Prairie Home Companion. I remember so many car rides listening to that show… and in my teen years hating it because it was so cheesy. Now, many years later, it reminds me of him and of my favorite years together with him. I was even able to see Garrison Keillor, the man who hosts the radio show, live on stage doing storytelling a few years back. It was a moment I will never forget. It felt like my dad was right there in the room.

    For Grandma
    For my grandmother, I make her chicken and dumplings recipe – which I have hand-written by my mom on an old recipe card. It was the favorite dish she would always make when we would visit, and now I get to share that with my boyfriend and his daughter… who is a very picky eater and never eats soups or mixtures of things, yet amazingly she loves my grandma’s chicken & dumplings! Warms my heart.

    For my Fiance
    Now these rituals are all ones I’ve done after some time has passed from losing people. They are rituals celebrating the love from a more healed place. But I’ve also had to create a lot of rituals to help me through the deep, agony of fresh grief. My fiance died suddenly, at the age of 27. It was the only sudden or traumatic loss I’ve ever had, and it broke me into a million pieces. I felt like I was literally fighting for my life those first few years… and I found all kinds of rituals to help me make it through the days. Here are just a few of them:

    Writing Letters
    I wrote to him constantly. He died while away on a work trip, and we were already emailing each other letters that we had begun calling “The Away Letters”, so I kept on writing them. It helped so much to feel some connection to him. Sometimes, I would end up writing letters back from him, of what I needed to hear from him. Those were especially powerful.

    Music
    My fiance and I were really into music, all kinds. So after he died, I felt like I got a lot of messages from him through music. I began to make a playlist of songs that felt like messages of love and comfort from him. And I would play them every time I would go to visit him at the cemetery.

    Wake Up Calls
    Mornings are the hardest after sudden loss. The half-awake state making you relive your reality all over again, when, for just a moment you believe it might have all not been real. That was by far the most agonizing time of the day for me. So whenever I found particularly comforting songs, I started to assign them as my alarms in the morning. They were songs either from favorite bands that he and I loved, with particular messages about love. Some were new songs or new bands too, but with messages that seemed to be what I needed to hear. One lyric said “I will make this place your home”, another sang “I’ll be your ship out on the ocean” and one other said “I won’t give up on us”.

    I’d set a different song each morning to wake me up on my phone, and over time, slowly, they began to help ease my morning pain. Over time, they helped to infuse that painful part of the day with warmth, and love, and connection to him. To this day, when I listen to those songs, a beautiful calm comes over me.

    Altars
    I made a small altar in the corner of my bedroom after my fiance died. It had a favorite photo of us, taken at an old timey photo booth for my birthday the previous year. It had his wristwatch he always wore, his pilot’s license, a note with his handwriting and many other trinkets… a favorite one was the compass out of the helicopter he crashed in, which I stole from the wreckage site when I went to view it. I knew it was to be mind, to remind me that he will always help guide my way. I would sit in the evenings by this altar, or any time that I felt sad. Sometimes picking up the trinkets, and sometime slighting some candles and playing some favorite music of ours and just letting the tears flow.

    Traveling to Remember
    Everywhere I have traveled since the day my fiance died, I have collected small stones and taken them to his grave. It’s been a way to bring him something back from all the beautiful places I have been. Another one that has turned out to be really fun and not just a great ritual for me but for others, is the Yellocopeter. Drew was a pilot, and he died in a crash flying a yellow helicopter. A few weeks after his death, I found this small yellow toy helicopter in the store and bought it. It was cute and lighthearted. Cheerful and silly. I took a picture of it in my apartment, amidst a sea of moving boxes while I was packing and moving away… and then it came with me on my trip to the Grand Canyon a month later too. And then, to Barbados. And then, in pictures with all of our friends and loved ones. 5 years later, and that little Yellocopter has been from the tallest peak East of the Mississippi river all the way to Hawaii. When I met my new partner, we added a little blue and black star to the journey – fashioned after one of his late-wife’s tattoos. Now the Yellocopter and the tiny Star go with us on every trip… traveling together in an Altoids tin!

    That’s just a handful of the many rituals I’ve accumulated over the years! I certainly hope they help someone else out in coming up with rituals of their own – both sacred ones and silly ones!

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