4 Healing Ways To Remain Close With A Loved One After They've Passed Away

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woman hugging an elderly female

After my grandmother died, I found myself yearning for significant ways to honor her at various points throughout the year — family gatherings, holidays, or ordinary days she found significance.

During the recent years after her passing, I found myself peppering the year with significant gestures of remembrance. I felt these actions allowed me space to honor her spirit, grieve if I needed to, visit with her, and pass down her perspective and culture to my children too.  

Many of us have experienced the passing of a loved one, and if we haven’t yet, at some point we most certainly will.

For those who have, it can be an extremely challenging transition. Someone close to us who we’ve spent a good portion of our lives with or a person who has had such an incredible impact on our lives is no longer with us. However unfortunate as this can be, we need to move forward and manage life without them.

As we do so, and over time, we may become concerned that we will forget the person or those who have transitioned and begin to hold on tightly to memories or possessions. The need to honor them by not letting go is common, creating room for them to continue participating in our lives in some fashion.

In my experience as a Grief Coach and Intuitive, there are various meaningful avenues people have found to stay connected with those who have died and even deepen that connection over time.

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Here are four ways to stay connected to your loved ones that have passed.

1. Talk about them.

This may seem like an easy thing to do, yet not everyone is able to openly speak of and express feelings for those who have gone before us.

Speaking of those who have passed can be a difficult emotional hurdle for some, especially in the early stages, where we may want to avoid feelings of sadness, despair, loneliness, and bouts of crying.

There may be limited opportunities to connect with someone with whom we can trust and safely confide. We may also find that others are somewhat uncomfortable in such discussions, having their own trouble knowing what to say and how to respond.

Talking openly about our transitioned loved ones helps keep their spirit alive in our minds and hearts. Sharing with others lets them know it is okay to talk about them and the situation. Discussion can bridge gaps, mend fences, and even shed new light on things, giving us a whole new perspective about the person who passed as well as ourselves.

2. Talk to them.

Some may find that talking directly to those who passed, in spirit, is even more soothing. Even though they aren’t here physically, our words can strengthen the bond we already have or even create a new bond that wasn’t quite achieved while they were here on Earth. We can hold conversations with them and see what impressions or sensations we feel.

As someone who connects with those on the other side, I realize talking with our friends and family who have passed can be a source of great comfort not only for us but for those on the other side too. Over time, the more I speak to them, the more I feel them respond. Sometimes, I have more dreams about them that offer a sense of calm and peace.

In some cases, I’ve had wonderful conversations with people after they crossed over that we were unable to have while they were here physically. Talking with and about past loved ones helps us realize we don’t ever really die.  Our form changes, therefore, the way we communicate with those on the other side changes too.

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3. Have a quilt or blanket made from their clothes.

Some people ponder what to do with all the person’s belongings and in many instances, find that removing clothing from the person’s home can be quite challenging and draining.

While there are several wonderful ways to remember those who have died through their possessions, like passing down jewelry, furniture, and other heirlooms, there is a lovely personal touch to having a blanket or quilt made from our loved one’s clothes.

As we go through the process of selecting which articles to use for this endeavor, we may find our hearts and minds open to memories and feelings about the person while looking to create something unique to remember them by — and it has a practical use too! Once complete, we can reflect and reminisce while preserving their memory.

Sometimes we can feel the loved one’s personality come through their wardrobe, thereby keeping us connected to them by what they used to wear.

Objects owned by those who have passed have their energy imprinted on them. Often, most of what a person owned will remind us of them because of that specific energetic signature.

I have various pieces of jewelry, furniture, and clothes from my grandmothers, including a few treasured hand-crocheted blankets from my great-grandmother who passed when I was a child. I’d met her many times at family gatherings where she stood out as a wise, light-hearted, smart, and somewhat mischievous woman.

When I use those blankets, I not only feel her presence — even though I have owned these items for years now — but I also feel the presence of her family and ancestors who I had not met in this lifetime. The connection with my heritage is strengthened in these special moments which, in turn, provide me joy and contentment.

4. Continue family traditions or create new ones in their honor.

Many of us can find it daunting to carry forward a tradition that was held by someone who has passed. How can we possibly execute the practice as well as they had?

The truth is we can’t, and we likely won’t. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do so in our own way and still honor them. The wonderful thing about traditions is that they are handed down from generation to generation, ensuring that each person, who carries them on, adds their own unique flare.

Traditions can be wonderful aspects that remind us of where we came from and can draw families together even if for a brief time. Creating new traditions with our passed loved ones in mind is also a lovely way to stay connected with them. We may set a special place, table, wall of pictures, or temporary altar for those who have passed during the holidays, at birthdays, or other specific times of the year —  or all the time.

We can even start a new custom in honor of those who have passed. In doing so we may feel their company close by as they walk with us and inspire us from the other side.

As with many families, traditional Christmas cookie baking is important in my family too. Each year we choose from a variety of traditional cookies, honoring all the grandparents in their creativity and efforts from previous Christmases. In my immediate family, we have upgraded the tradition to the status of mini-events throughout the weeks of December so we can bake together as a family unit, sharing the experience.

Every year I pause for a moment and see my deceased family members overseeing the gatherings with pride — with a few attempting to offer direction on how things are being done. 

These are just a few ways that people can implement to stay connected with a deceased loved one. The more we normalize their existence after they pass, the more our communications with them can become a regular occurrence, if we want them to be. It may take a few months or years to figure out which activities or rituals feel best to us, and nothing is ever set in stone.

Whatever brings us heartful moments while remembering and cherishing those we love and the memories we created together is what matters most.

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Pamela Aloia is a certified Grief Coach, Reiki master/teacher, and author helping people become better versions of themselves through individual sessions, energy work, meditation, and more.