When you lose someone you love, there are many things you can do to help you cope better, to make you feel as though you’re doing something for that special person, to do something in their memory. Some of the following are what I did after losing my Dad to cancer three years ago:
Make a memory box. A few years before my Dad got ill, I bought myself a box to put things that were special to me in, like Birthday and Christmas cards, theatre tickets and even a receipt which the manager of the Sue Ryder charity shop in Emmer Green gave to me showing me how much money I put through the till one morning. When my Dad died, I got a shoe box and put pictures of my Dad in, his Reading FC t-shirt, and his very first Father’s Day card from me and the necklace with my Dad’s ashes in.
Get a bench with their name on and put it in a special place. Okay, so this isn’t something that I personally did so I don’t know how expensive this is. But as an example, my Dad worked at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading where he was also cared for a lot during his illness, and the staff there got a bench with his name on.
Make a donation to a special charity. Again, not something that I personally did, but at my Dad’s funeral, my Mum put a collection box and then donated the money to the Duchess Of Kent House.
Before and after my Dad died, our family was visited regularly by a woman from Daisy’s Dream and after my Dad died, she came one afternoon with white sand and coloured chalk so that we could use the chalk to colour the sand in colours that reminded us of our Dad (myself and my brother) and we then layered the sand into containers and they now live in our living room. Mine was blue and white for two reasons: 1. Because blue and white is the colour of Reading FC and 2. Because it reminds me of the song Mr Blue Sky by ELO which was my Dad’s favourite song.
Write to them. This solely depends on how you feel and it took me a while before I started to do this. But, sometimes, when I have a particularly good day that I know my Dad would be really pleased about or when I’ve had a really bad day, I write letters to my Dad, and some of them I keep while most of them I rip up, but it helps.
Turn their ashes into something special. My Mum did this for me. She put some of my Dad’s ashes into a heart shaped necklace with a cute blue forget me not flower and I’ve never ever worn out but it’s nice to look at.
Do something new. About a year after my Dad died, I started volunteering in the Sue Ryder charity shop in Emmer Green. At first, my reason was to get some work experience, but after a while it dawned on me that I was doing something really worthwhile and it was as though I was giving something back to the Sue Ryder charity and the nurses and staff at the Duchess Of Kent House who cared for my Dad.
After my Dad died, I made a video using photos of my Dad; when he was child, his wedding to my Mum and photos of my Dad with myself and/or my brother to the song Raincloud by The Lighthouse Family, which holds a special memory between myself and my Dad.
I am sure that there are many more things which can be done but these are based on my own experiences.