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Not Forgotten – Remembering Folks Long After a Trauma or Death

Not Forgotten – Remembering Folks Long After a Trauma or Death

Whether it’s the anniversary of a public event like the Boston Marathon bombings or the Columbine shootings, or a not-so-public anniversary of a friend or neighbor’s tragedy, it’s important to reach out and show that you have not forgotten. Many folks will jump in to help right away and that is so necessary, but there is always an opportunity to show that you are still remembering much later.

So, what can we do months or even years down the road?

  • Remember the anniversary. Some people are very organized and enter the date of a loss or sad event in their phone or date book so a reminder pops up a year later. Others of us may just remember the season… when the trees began flowering, the fish were jumping, the leaves were falling, or the snow started to fly. Just remembering and saying or doing something comforting is the key.

  • Visit a memorial site. In some traditions, people place a pebble on the headstone to show their remembrance and their respect. Others may place fresh flowers. Either way, it lets the family know that someone visited and they are not forgotten.

  • Send a random note or email. A quick card or email saying “I was just thinking about you today. I saw a… (butterfly, flowering tree, baseball game, drag race) and thought how much… (Danny, Jan) would have loved to see it too. I miss… (him, her) so much.”

  • Send or drop by some flowers. It doesn’t need to be an expensive bouquet or plant; just some pretty flowers from the grocery store will do.

  • Send a photo of the loved one. Don’t let those photos sit in boxes or on your camera or phone. Share them with the folks who would love to see them.

  • “Pay it forward” by doing something in memory of the ill or deceased loved one. Let them know you remember by… (running a race to earn money, planting a tree, donating blood, volunteering for a charity) in honor of the loved one.

  • Perform a random act of kindness. Let the family know you did it because “that is what… (Sam, Maria) would have done.”

  • Just spend time. Take the friend, neighbor or relative to coffee, lunch, a game, or for a walk around the block.

  • Be a Secret Santa ANY time of the year. Drop off some baked goods, toys or fun art supplies for the kids, or treats for the dogs. Who wouldn’t love a random surprise at the door and then enjoy the mystery of who delivered it.

We would all like to take away the pain and struggles that follow a trauma or death, but we can’t. We can, however, walk along side our friends and loved ones, offering a bit of comfort to their troubled lives. Now is a good time to make this happen.

Copyright 2014 Allidah Hicks and Bonnie Knuti. All rights reserved.