Love Lives On: Remembering Your Loved Ones During the Holiday Season
The holidays may be a bittersweet time for those who have lost a beloved family member or friend, because memories and holiday traditions are associated with this special person. It is often challenging to find new ways to celebrate the holidays, while holding onto precious memories of the past.
During the holidays we encourage family and friends to remember those they lost on 9/11 by including a personal reflection on their Living Memorial page.
Honoring Old Traditions and Creating New Ones
We wanted to share some thoughtful notes we received from 9/11 families about the ways they remember their loved ones while beginning new family traditions.
I have a Nativity set that belonged to Michael's aunt. Every Christmas Eve Michael would place the infant Jesus in the manger at midnight. We continue to do the same. It was a tradition that I don't want to get lost.
Connecting with Ron's classmates, co-workers and friends during the holidays makes everyone miss him a little more, but each year there are new stories that are told and more memories are made.
Last year I started a new tradition. I will now be spending the Holidays with my son and his family in South Carolina…our new tradition of sharing the Holidays together works for both of us.
When we light the menorah during Hanukkah we select a special candle to light in memory of our grandmother.
During the holidays we have dinner with several of our friends and their families. We each bring a special dish, exchange presents and share our family traditions. Those we lost are always remembered when we join hands and say grace before the meal.
Our family often “takes a break” from staying at home during the holidays. We choose a vacation spot and gather in a festive setting where all our activities are planned. It’s nice to get away from it all.
The first several years we had a family gathering at the cemetery where we decorated a small tree with our son’s mementos. We lit a candle, said some prayers and talked about our fond memories.
Other Suggestions For Remembrance:
- Spend the holidays with extended family and friends
- Maintain family traditions
- Share memories and personal stories
- Use your loved one’s old recipes to make a special holiday dish
- Take a moment to look at family photo albums and home videos
- Light a special candle or place a wreath at their grave
- Make a memorial ornament or decorative piece to display
- Donate to a charity in your loved one’s name
- Volunteer to help others in need by giving your gift of time
- Spend time in a place where you feel close to your loved one
- Write a letter to your loved one
- Include a personal remembrance on their Living Memorial guestbook page