How do you keep loved ones close after they have passed away, and how do you honor their memory?
From placing the photo of a husband, parent or sibling, or friend in a prominent place to cooking a favorite meal on their birthday, families do different things to remember those they love and have lost. The important thing is, they do what works for them.
Photos, candles, flowers, your loved one’s favorite foods, and other meaningful decorations can be placed in your home to create a day, week, or year of remembrance, with decorations changing with the seasons.
If you’ve seen the Disney Movie, Coco, you know it’s the story of a young boy named Miguel who learns through his Mexican heritage that the souls of departed loved ones return to their family once a year. They return so that their lives can be celebrated. Some Mexican families construct an Ofrenda to welcome them home. It displays photos of their departed family members, surrounded by some of their favorite things to welcome them home on Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.
The takeaway message from Coco is that even though family members have left the earth, family history can transcend the years and continue to shape our families for generations to come.
Our Lady of Peace Bereavement Director Amy Cotter honors loved ones in her home with an Ofrenda. For Amy, the designated memorial area is a reminder that her loved ones are still present in her heart. She says, “I enjoy setting it up and interacting with it, and sometimes I change what I put out for the people I’m remembering.”
Your designated memorial can be placed on a fireplace mantle, a corner of your dresser, or even a card table. One of the memorial photos that accompanies this blog was inspired by the Ofrenda tradition, and the other was not. Amy Cotter says, “The act of ritual or a physical metaphor are ways of remembering and celebrating what people meant to you. Whatever way you choose to remember loved ones, know they are always with you.”