How Keepsakes Can Help in the Grieving Process
“When my grandfather died, it was unexpected, but as a World War II veteran and a jokester, we knew his life was well-lived. On the day of the funeral, after everyone was off to the reception, Mom prompted my sisters and me to choose a few of our favorite flowers from the top of the casket before the final interment. Little did we know of her plan: On Christmas morning, she presented us each with a piece of jewelry that had the flowers we selected embedded inside. Thanks to my necklace, my grandpa’s memory is with me everywhere I go. Every promotion, life change, wedding, or birth – he’s always there.”
Of course, reminiscing – from family vacations to favorite songs and movies – is part of the grieving process as this helps keep memories alive after a loved one dies. This is also true for certain items or keepsakes to carry with us or display in our homes.
There’s a comforting aspect of funeral keepsakes. A tangible item allows us to feel connected to the loved one we lost while grieving — like a part of them is always with you. Having these reminders with us is shown to reduce the pain and suffering after a death, prompting those who grieve to confront and acknowledge the loss. A keepsake also provides a deep emotional link to a loved one.
When thinking of what to choose as a keepsake, consider the item’s personal connection. It could be a timeless piece of jewelry, an old shirt, their favorite cookbook. Unique items that bring to mind memories can have a profound impact on how we grieve.
For example, the sensation of touching something is often the “personal link” we need to feel close to who we’ve lost. Researchers say that tactile information helps us remember far better than auditory information, and that’s why we often feel comforted when we use Grandma’s kitchen utensil or hold her hairbrush.
Choosing a specific item with a special scent might evoke certain memories of a loved one as well. Maybe its Dad’s cologne, Mom’s favorite apple pie bubbling away in the oven, or a sister’s signature candle fragrance.
Other items that help with grieving might not be items at all. A song, voicemail, or the act of cooking a well-loved recipe are all strong components to help navigate grief.
With this being said, what’s most important is not the object we choose to hold onto, but the way that object makes us feel as we grieve.
Remember, the care team here at Moloney Funeral Homes is always here for guidance should you need us. Families in Port Jefferson Station, Bohemia, Hauppauge, and Center Moriches know to trust the Moloney name, and we hope you do, too.