Ways to say Goodbye to your loved one

A client’s painting of their grandmother

In these times of COVID, there is a strong chance that if you lost a loved one you were unable to say goodbye to them or attend their funeral.
It is so important to be able to say goodbye, if not to them in person then at their funeral.
How do you do that when you were not able to say goodbye to your loved one before they died, or say goodbye by attending their funeral?
A lot of pain results from not feeling able to say goodbye to a loved one. There are often things you wanted to say to your loved one.
There are a number of things you can do to say your goodbyes.
• You can hold a small ceremony with people who knew your loved one.
• You can arrange a get together of people who knew your loved one and share stories and memories about your loved one.
• You can write a letter and post it. Australia Post report that one of the most common letters that ends up in the dead letter office is a letter to a deceased loved one.
• You can write a letter, read it aloud, say goodbye and keep the letter in a special place.
• You can visit a place that was special to your loved one.
• If possible, you can visit the place they last lived.
• You can light a special candle to your loved one at times that are important to you.
• You can make an art work, maybe a painting, a clay piece, or a poem to represent what they were to you. It doesn’t have to be beautiful. It just needs to express something that is meaningful about your loved one. One young woman wrote this haiku about her grandfather:
Dark stocky and small man
Full of Celtic mystical thought yet practical
You were my wonderful grandfather

• You can find an object, whether you buy it, or find it, for example a shell or rock on the beach. That object will be one that represents in some way your loved one. One woman bought stamps of flowers her mother had loved. Every time she posted a letter she felt she was honouring her mother. Another woman found a beautiful amethyst heart in a shop. Her mother loved amethysts and for her the heart was a reminder of her love for her mother and her mother’s love for her. A man took the wood from a tree the mother had loved after it fell down. He arranged for the wood to be turned into wooden bowls he distributed to family members.
• You can start a memory box of all the memories you consider important. Make sure you visit it from time to time. It is not intended to be a time capsule. One family have a cupboard they put their memories in. They add to it periodically and visit it often.
• You can honour that loved one’s birthday by planning a special outing. One family planned a birthday party for their child on their birthday. The party was themed at the age they would have turned that year. Another family visited their father’s grave on what would have been his 100th birthday to acknowledge his place in their lives.
• You can include a place at the dinner table at Christmas Time, and other important family events, to remind yourself and honour their presence in your family.
All these things help you in understanding and finding meaning in your loved one’s death. Remember finding meaning does not mean knowing why they died, it means finding a reflection of the love you have for them. Finding meaning takes time. I will talk more about meaning in another blog.

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with your grief and saying goodbye, please contact me on 0409396608 or nan@plentifullifecounselling.com.au
If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with interesting information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *