6 Ways to Carry Your Loved One Who Died


A Photoshopped landscape by Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York.…I will remember you forever.

In this way, because I got to live, you will too.

My daughter Marika Warden wrote this after her friend Jake died. She was going to carry the memory of him forever. So when Marika died, I knew I would have to find a way to carry her. Grief is not something to get over or through. It is a remnant of our love that changes the course of our lives and shapes who we are. If we allow it, grief can be our ruin. Or grief can help us grow. It all depends on moving forward as we hold on.


6 Healthy Ways to Hold on to Your Loved One Who Died

LOOK at what your loved one left and what (s)he loved. A daughter left songs that her bereaved mother now performs. A widow walks the land she shared with her husband for forty years and writes about the lessons of love, death, and grief. My own daughter loved Facebook and blogging so now I dive daily into social media. Take your cues from your beloved, from what was important to them, and consider how you can make their memory live on and make their lives matter.

CREATE a ritual, a private or public tribute, an ongoing event like a new family tradition, or an annual community memorial run … in their memory. Create a foundation to support something meaningful to your loved one’s life. Create a poem.

TRY a new activity in her honor, maybe one that your loved one liked. Learn a new skill. Allow yourself to imagine her laughter if you fail or fall flat on your face.

LISTEN to the one you love and thought you lost. Wearing his hat, take a walk with your memories of him. Or light a candle, have tea, and talk to him. Send him an email. You can still have a relationship with the departed.

GIVE. Plant flowers in the local park or give a sapling lilac tree a home in your yard. Give to the community. In her name, donate to a charity or cause. In her behalf, volunteer some of your time to make a difference in someone else’s life. Buy a birthday gift “from” or “for” your loved one and gift someone who would really appreciate it. Or gift yourself.

LIVE. Expand who you are. Include your loved one in your life and live for the two of you. Celebrate his life by living yours fully. What did he want out of life? What do you wish for? ALLOW YOUR LOVED ONE’S DREAMS TO INFUSE YOUR OWN.


How will you carry the one you love who died into the next chapters of your life?



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6 thoughts on “6 Ways to Carry Your Loved One Who Died

  1. Elaine Mansfield

    Thank you, Robin. I am walking–with Willow–on land I thought I’d leave a long time ago. Later for leaving. All your ideas are wonderful and healing. The rituals we create to live keep us going and help us build a new life while we never forget or leave behind the old one. Love to you, dear Robin. I’m so happy about Suki.

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Thank you, Elaine. I thought of you while I was gone, hiking in the Rocky Mountains, and doing my rituals to honor my daughter. It was something different to try, “taking” Marika on vacation with me to a place I knew she’d love and have gotten to herself sooner or later. Wearing her shirt, I sang her song and blew bubbles off the high peaks, and threw some of her jewelry off too. We had a “chocolate talk” on Bear Lake and I read her my entire 200-page manuscript, to “hear it” from her point of view. I was never really alone out there. It was very strange. Maybe too strange to write a post about?

  2. Joann Giovannone (Jo)

    Robin, great post! I’m still struggling with ideas of finding something meaningful to do/join/create to continue to carry on our son’s memory, always present in our lives. He didn’t live on Earth long enough (16 yo when we lost him) to develop a strong passion. He was interested in everything, loved trying something new and exciting, (we called it our bucket list which we’d make up at the beginning of each new year), was great with animals, a great listener (older people always thought he was older than his actual age because he would/did carry on intelligent conversations with people from a very young age…often remarked that he “had an old soul” )…anyway, I’m still soul searching for answers to this one. Like some of your ideas, though! As always, love your photos! Jo

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Hi Jo. No struggle. No hurry. An idea or opportunity may present itself to you one day. Or not. The important thing, I am sure, is to be gentle on yourselves and live the lives he would have wanted for you. And to remember. He sounds like a very special 16 year old, the “old soul.”
      I wish I had made up bucket lists with my daughter each year. What a great idea. Did you actually do all the things on the lists?
      Thanks for the compliments. The photo was a special one I was saving. Cheers!


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