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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?