Aubrey and Ellie just had a birthday on June 24th. If they were still alive, they would be 13 years old.
How time flies.
People ask me quite often what kind of memorial rituals I have adopted to honor my girls on days like their birthdays, death anniversaries, and holidays.
I think they are surprised when I say I haven’t really adopted or created any.
How can this be? How in the world do I honor them without rituals?
The truth is, holding too tightly to habitual memorial rituals isn’t healing. It can keep you stuck in your pain.
One of the best decisions I ever made on my healing journey was to give myself complete freedom to honor my girls however it feels right to me at the time without guilt, regret, or a sense of falling short.
If I can’t get to the cemetery on their birthday because life happens, it’s ok, they are still loved.
If I can’t take the day off work and think about only them for 24 hours on their death anniversaries, it’s ok, they are still deeply missed.
If I fill their Easter baskets one year, but not the next, it’s ok, they are still celebrated.
If I hang their ornaments on the tree one year and then on the fireplace the next, it’s ok, they are still remembered.
Because here is what I know about honoring my girls: they are more honored by my healing than they ever could be by any ritual I habitually perform in their honor.
I’m not saying rituals are bad, not at all!
I’m saying there is freedom in healing and if I’m controlled by rituals that have to take place on their birthday, anniversary, or holiday for me to feel ok and not full of panic, regret, or guilt, then I’m not free and I’m not experiencing all the healing available to me.
And I want all the healing.
Because they are worth healing for.
And I’m worth healing for, too.
You don’t have to adhere to memorial rituals out of fear your loved one will be forgotten or dishonored without them.
There should be freedom in how you choose to continue loving them. You honor them when you honor your healing too.
How have you given yourself freedom to honor your lost loved one?
Send an email to Rachel@thegriefgal.com and tell me about it. I’d love to know.