Following a death, you may spend time to reflect and acknowledge the person’s life. In this way the person who has died will still have a voice, a story, or a connection that remains with you.

There are different ways in which you can remember the person who has died. You may feel sad and at a loss but still want to recall and remember good memories.

There are many ways you could remember and share happy memories:

  • A remembrance service or celebration of life (many hospice or palliative care services and some hospitals, hold memorial services)
  • A memory box or scrap-book
  • A framed photo of happy times
  • A candle lit in their memory
  • A tree or plant in their memory
  • A CD of their favourite music
  • A letter written to them to express feelings
  • A bench or plaque dedicated in their memory.

Christmas and anniversaries can be difficult, especially if it is the first one after the death. You may consider not celebrating as a sign of respect. You may want to change how you acknowledge this event. You may want to celebrate as a way of honouring the memory of the person who has died.

You may need to allow feelings of grief, sadness, anger, loneliness or emptiness for a time. You may need to know that it is also alright to feel moments of happiness and joy. This is not disrespectful to the loved one who has died. It is a reflection of the need for you to keep on living.

Adjustment following a death can take time. There is no right amount of time to grieve. Each person will take as much time as they need.

Sometimes people experience difficulties in their grief. They may feel angry, depressed or not be able to stop crying. They may spend much of their time alone because they don't want to talk with others. If you are having trouble with your grief, talk to your GP. There are things that can help. This may be a support group. It may be finding someone special to talk with such as a grief or bereavement counsellor.