Tag Archives: loss of a loved one

A Tale of Kale, Tribute to My Sister

Kolorful KaleBy Gloria Loring

It’s everywhere! I have people sending me recipes for it, serving it to me in salads, soups, and stews. Bags of kale chips beckon to me at the Whole Foods checkout counter. But my favorite connection to kale is through my brother-in-law.

For those of you who don’t know one bunch of greens from another, kale is a crinkly edged cousin of swiss chard, yet meatier. As a friend told me, “If kale were a woman, she’d be a real broad.” She’s tough, I can tell you that.

Six days after my sister’s journey with cancer ended, three hundred of us celebrated her in songs, tears, and smiles. To my surprise, my brother-in-law Eduardo, his face taut with suppressed emotion, walked to the podium to speak of the love of his life. His son Ian stood beside him. Eduardo spoke of Peggy’s determination to do whatever was required in her efforts toward healing. Efforts that included eating kale (as part of a vegan diet). Eduardo choose kale as the metaphor for how Peggy would take what looked prickly, ragged, unfamiliar, and lovingly ingest it. He spoke of watching her pray over her plain steamed kale and then eat it happily, when to him it looked like a weed to be pulled from the garden. To illustrate, Ian pulled a large bunch of kale from the plastic bag at his side. Chuckles spread through the crowd. Eduardo ended by comparing himself to the kale, still a bit prickly, but softened by all he had been through and the great gift of twenty years with my beautiful sister.

Two weeks later, Eduardo was at home thinking about the organic garden that Peggy had mothered so tenderly. In her last months she was too weak, the watering system broke, and everything shriveled. Perhaps, he thought, “I should replant it as a tribute to her.” He began walking to the back of the property to assess all there was to do. As he approached, he saw a desert wasteland of raised boxes, except for one tall bushy plant that had sprouted, without water, without care.

Peggy's KaleYes, it was head of kale, growing, flourishing, reaching up toward the light, just as my sister’s spirit did, all through her life, through the hospital stays, the surgery, the radiation, through the difficult nights and quiet final days. Bringing the best of herself, in spite of anything, everything. If that bunch of kale were a woman, she’d be my sister.

* * *

The former “Liz Chandler” on Days of Our Lives, Gloria Loring is a singer, songwriter, actress and author. Her new memoir, titled with a quote by Albert Einstein, is Coincidence Is God’s Way of Remaining Anonymous.

www.glorialoring.com, www.facebook.com/GloriaLoring, @GloriaLoring

Deepak Chopra: How Do We Deal With Loss?

We all know that death is a part of life. How could we not? And yet even awareness cannot fully soften the blow of losing a loved one, no matter how spiritually prepared we may be. What, then, can we do to deal with loss?

In this episode of “Ask Deepak” on The Chopra Well, Deepak addresses methods for coping with loss, beginning with releasing anger and denial:

Death and the loss of the body and brain is a realm of potential, where thought still forms and consciousness still exists. Local consciousness becomes non-local consciousness, but this local consciousness is where we have our relationships, those who we care about and love. The people who are dealing with the loss of another should try not to grieve with anger or denial, but with love and remembering the great times they spent with the person who passed away. Remembering the life and experiences of the person we lost can bring joy and fill the void the loved one left behind. Ultimate love translates into compassion, empathy, a desire to do good. This helps us deal with loss.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and share your thoughts in the comments section below!

New Yorkers: Be in a new OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) show w/ Deepak Chopra, 6/1/13!

Looking for Participants for the new show “Help Desk” that will air on The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN)!

If you are working through a difficult issue in your life – such as divorce, overcoming addiction, loss of a family member, or financial hardship – you may be a perfect fit.

Participants will sit down with Deepak Chopra and receive expert advice and inspiration, right in the heart of New York City! Refer to the flier below for application information.

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WHAT: The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), is seeking participants for a new show called “Help Desk” featuring author Deepak Chopra.

WHEN: Saturday June 1st, 2013

WHERE: Madison Square Park, New York City.

Description:

Help Desk is a new television show on OWN that features renowned self-help experts making themselves available in public spaces providing advice to anyone who needs it. Help Desk is a deeply substantive series that grounds some of the great wisdom provided by today’s top experts and helps people live better and more fulfilling lives. Although the event is public, we are looking to secure a select group of participants who will be given priority to gain a spot to sit down with Deepak.

What we are looking for:

We need people who are seeking advice to help them with a specific life issue or circumstance.

Below are a couple examples but we are open to hearing about any particular issues you would like to discuss:
-Loss of a family member or friend
-Divorce or breakup
-Coping with job loss
-Overcoming addiction
-Veterans suffering from PTSD
-Issues revolving around sexual identity
-Overcoming specific anxieties or fears
-Parenting issues
-Leaving or questioning faith
-Financial hardship
-Sex and relationship issues

Qualifications:

  • You must be available during select times on June 1st at Madison Square Garden in New York City
  • Include a simple description of yourself with contact information
  • Include a photo of yourself
  • Include a single paragraph description of the issue you would like to overcome
  • Note specific questions you would like to ask Deepak Chopra
  • If selected, you will need to sign an Appearance Release

Email advicedeepak@gmail.com to apply. Looking forward to hearing from you!!

ThanksGiving…4 Tips When You Feel Alone

 Those of us who have lost our beloved child…know all too much, all that we can’t change, say, or do.                       It’s all Love for me…All LOVE. I finally honored, my son’s last wish for me. My book, “Bounce Off The Walls-Land On Your Feet” is published, http://www.amazon.com/dp/0982736649/ All Love…it kept me going, honoring his sweet wish.                                                                                                                                                                                                        When you feel you are all alone, and there is no one there for you, think twice.   It’s ThanksGiving, a time of gratitude to count your blessings.

  1. Reach out for someone in need, volunteer to serve dinner at a shelter.
  2. Or take a moment to call someone you haven’t spoken to for awhile. Invite a neighbor to break bread with you.
  3. Have a pot-luck, share what you have. When we share, our heart opens, we remember the meaning of  kindness, we remember to give what we our heart needs.
  4. When we give, and remember what we have to be grateful for…we are not alone. We are in the company of true self, we feel the light of God’s spirit in everything we see, taste, and feel.

The following acknowledgment from Dr. Cara Baker shows us, we have kindred spirits that understand, and will generously support our journey… no matter how challenging.

“Merrie Lynn,I am so, so grateful for your contribution. This includes your book. I, too, had a similar ‘promise’ after my son was killed some 19 years ago when he was in college. We’d been working on a book together, at the time, and this was what he wanted. Never did I imagine it would be the launch of a whole new life chapter through his death.        Just know that you are an amazement. I’m just certain that your son would be doing some major ‘atta mom’s’ were he here is physical form. On this week of Thanksgiving, may you be reminded in many, many ways that your Love for him lives on and touches even strangers. Stay in touch, please. I’m behind your project.

All joy and blessings”,
Cara

MerrieWay Muses: When someone reads our heart wish, and sends the light we need at the moment…the angels sing and touch the senders heart.

www.merrieway.com

 

 

ThanksGiving…4 Tips When You Feel Alone

 Those of us who have lost our beloved child…know all too much, all that we can’t change, say, or do.                       It’s all Love for me…All LOVE. I finally honored, my son’s last wish for me. My book, “Bounce Off The Walls-Land On Your Feet” is published, http://www.amazon.com/dp/0982736649/ All Love…it kept me going, honoring his sweet wish.                                                                                                                                                                                                        When you feel you are all alone, and there is no one there for you, think twice.   It’s ThanksGiving, a time of gratitude to count your blessings.

  1. Reach out for someone in need, volunteer to serve dinner at a shelter.
  2. Or take a moment to call someone you haven’t spoken to for awhile. Invite a neighbor to break bread with you.
  3. Have a pot-luck, share what you have. When we share, our heart opens, we remember the meaning of  kindness, we remember to give what we our heart needs.
  4. When we give, and remember what we have to be grateful for…we are not alone. We are in the company of true self, we feel the light of God’s spirit in everything we see, taste, and feel.

The following acknowledgment from Dr. Cara Baker shows us, we have kindred spirits that understand, and will generously support our journey… no matter how challenging.

“Merrie Lynn,I am so, so grateful for your contribution. This includes your book. I, too, had a similar ‘promise’ after my son was killed some 19 years ago when he was in college. We’d been working on a book together, at the time, and this was what he wanted. Never did I imagine it would be the launch of a whole new life chapter through his death.        Just know that you are an amazement. I’m just certain that your son would be doing some major ‘atta mom’s’ were he here is physical form. On this week of Thanksgiving, may you be reminded in many, many ways that your Love for him lives on and touches even strangers. Stay in touch, please. I’m behind your project.

All joy and blessings”,
Cara

MerrieWay Muses: When someone reads our heart wish, and sends the light we need at the moment…the angels sing and touch the senders heart.

www.merrieway.com

 

 

How to deal with loss

I took my dog, Bella for a walk in the neighborhood and couldn’t help but enjoy the crisp morning air and puffs of clouds dotting the baby blue sky above me.  Other walkers were passing me by and smiling as they looked at Bella tugging her leash and exuding a feeling of happy playfulness.  It just felt like one of those moments when all seemed to be right in the world. 
 
As I was walking up the hill, I spotted a squirrel on the side of the road, obviously hit by a car.  This is a pretty common sight in my neighborhood.  The squirrels hesitate in the middle of the road not being able to decide whether to cross or not, making them vulnerable to cars passing by.   
 
As I walked past the squirrel, I noticed its eyes were still open and its tail was moving.  I was overtaken with a feeling of dread and helplessness.  I wanted to help the squirrel not suffer, but I didn’t know what to do.  If I moved it, it might cause the squirrel to be in more pain than it already was.   How could I just walk away and do nothing to help?   
 
After scanning through solutions in my mind, I realized there wasn’t much that I could do but bear my feelings of helplessness and continue to walk.  
  
The beautiful morning had transformed into a painful situation in a matter of minutes.  As the tears ran down my cheeks, I kept hoping this poor squirrel would soon be out of its misery.   I started getting lost in my thoughts and contemplating how unfair and cruel life can be at times.   Returning to the present moment, I gazed up and noticed that the environment did not mirror my internal experience of turmoil.  Walkers were still smiling, the sky was still shining and the day’s appearance hadn’t changed one bit.  This thought left me feeling very alone and disconnected from everyone else.  I wanted to stop a walker and ask them if they had witnessed this tiny helpless squirrel suffering on the side of the road.   But I didn’t, I just continued to walk. 
  
After reaching the top of the hill, I turned to walk back down.  As I walked, Bella was still playfully tugging at her leash.  We approached the squirrel once again.  It still had its eyes open, but this time I noticed that the fur on the tail was moving from the wind of the cars passing by, not by the squirrel.  It probably had been dead all along.  I had jumped so rapidly into my fear and helplessness that I didn’t even realize the possibility of this squirrel already being dead.  
 
Feeling calmer, I started   to recall a wise passage I had read in a book by James Hollis, "The great rhythm of gain and loss is outside of our control; what remains within our control is the attitude of willingness to find in even the bitterest losses what remains to be lived."    It is a struggle when, through loss, we learn just how little control we have in their lives.   We are humbled by the randomness of our fate and the fate of our loved ones.  For some it is an unbearable concept which can force them to self-medicate, distract, or even deny their pain.    
 
If we can’t avoid the pain of life, how can we work towards learning to tolerate it? Mindful meditation can be a wonderful tool in helping us to deal with our thoughts and emotions.  The practice of mindful meditation is not a process of getting rid of something, but of opening up to it and receiving a deeper understanding. Through understanding and compassion we make room for freedom, peace and joy to enter our lives.  By focusing on our in breath and our out breath we bring a concentration to the present moment.  The practice of focusing keeps us in the present moment and out of the past and the future.  Thich Nhat Hanh says it beautifully, "In the spirit of meditation, life is only really present in the here and now. The past is already gone and the future has not arrived yet.  When we can be in touch with what is wonderful in the present moment, we are nourished and healed." 
 
Did you ever notice how you could experience something unpleasant only once, but the thoughts don’t end there, they can continue to reverberate in the mind long after the experience is over?  The continual thoughts produced by our minds cause added suffering to the painful experience.  If we dwell peacefully in the present moment, we can experience a wonderful healing that can take us out of the clutches of regret about the past and anxiety about the future.   Staying in the present moment creates space to observe what we are thinking, and the choice to decide whether or not we want to act on it.     By learning to focus your attention on the breath, you can cultivate awareness and clarity of what is entering your mind.    Mindfulness provides a simple but powerful road for stopping the busyness of our minds and getting ourselves back in touch with our inner wisdom.  
 
Staying present with the reality of life’s impermanence heightened my awareness of the fullness of life around me.  It presented two choices for me, I could dwell in the place of loss and let that squirrel stir the pot of all the painful losses from my past, or I could dwell in the place of appreciation for what remains alive around me.  The ability to be present with all of my painful feelings over my furry friend helped me to walk away with a deeper, richer experience and a greater understanding of life and loss.
 
 
 
 

Embracing Death and the Gift of Grief

“Is it true there is a cure for all illness?
Only if you are wise enough to see death as a cure.”
 

Emmanuel’s Book

As a spiritual counselor, hospice volunteer and mother of a child who died at age 16 after a long illness, I am fiercely committed to a belief in the importance of conscious dying and conscious grieving. By understanding that death is neither an enemy nor an ending, the process of grieving the death of a loved one becomes a journey of awakening for the person who has died and for those who remain on earth.

I’ve spent a lifetime studying metaphysics and spirituality, and I believe unequivocally that there are no "good" or "bad" experiences; only the soul’s constant craving for growth and expansion. In this view, illness and death are not experiences to be avoided, but to be embraced with gratitude for the shifting of perceptions and the gifts of growth they provide. In a state of gratitude at this level, you accept every experience with love, because you recognize it as one of your soul’s creations. Even something as painful as the death of a child can be seen as part of a of flawless pattern of perfection, designed to move the family — and the entire soul group connected to that family — forward in unexpected ways.
 
When my son was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness at age 10, friends and family asked, “Does this change your unconventional spiritual views? Does it make you want to go back to traditional notions of God, afterlife and religion?”
 
This might have been a good question for someone who’d taken only a few tentative steps outside the religious box during his lifetime, but for me the question was preposterous. The stunning news that my son would only live a few more years actually confirmed what I’d intuitively known since I was a teenager: There are soul contracts. Reincarnation is real. There’s a reason for everything. And we create our own experiences on earth with the assistance of non-physical guides and helpers.
 
In the early 1960s, when I was 14 years old, a Krishna Consciousness congregation moved into an old church in my neighborhood, and I attended their Sunday feasts and listened to lectures by Swami Bhaktivedanta. At 16, my liberal, free-thinking high school English teacher taught the Bible as literature, and from there, fueled by intense curiosity, I went on to read the rest of it (my family was not religious at all, and this was my first exposure to anything biblical).By the time I finished high school I’d read the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Ruth Montgomery and Edgar Cayce. These teachings resonated with me as absolute truth back then, and over the years, supported by further study and practice, they have been confirmed again and again. So when my son was diagnosed, I knew instantly that his soul had a plan of its own. And it was my intention to honor his intention.
 
Let’s go back for a moment to those traditional notions of God, afterlife and religion. Had I perceived this situation through that lens, I would have been gripped with fear and helplessness, too puny and unworthy to comprehend the mysterious workings of an all-powerful god who randomly dispenses good or bad luck, sorrow or joy, wealth or poverty, and in death, reward or punishmentfor his children. 
 
By contrast, my particular flavor of self-empowered spirituality says that we are not separate from God, but are equal parts of the collective energy that IS God, an energy with which we work as co-creators. This work is done “on earth as it is in heaven,” as our souls continue to seek growth and expansion, in and out of the body. The growth work we do during our earthly incarnations carries over to the other side, where we evaluate and create new and effective situations to bring forth the very experiences we seek for our continued exploration. In this way there can be no tragedies, no here and there, no them and us, and no death.
 
HOSPICE AND ANAMCARA
 
Over the years, my passion for examining death from the perspectives of both the dying and the grieving led me to an interesting mix of studies and practices drawn from all the usual sources and many of the non-usual ones. One of those sources is the “Anamcara Project,” a unique spiritual education program created by founding directors Richard and Mary Groves. Their “Sacred Art of Living and Dying” seminars have attracted more than 10,000 students from a wide range of healing professions and the general public, including educators, clergy, hospice workers, physicians and metaphysicians. I was attracted to the program when I first heard the term, spiritual midwife,” referring to someone who helps the dying make their transitions from this world to the next. Because the word “midwife” so perfectly described the role I played in my son’s death, I sought out the Anamcara Project, and it is now an important part of not only my work as a hospice volunteer, but my personal growth path as well.
 
Anamcara (pronounced ahn-im-KAHR-uh) is a Gaelic word meaning “soul friend.” In ancient times the Celts created the role of Anamcara as a life counselor and spiritual guide. By the 6th century AD, Christian women and men continued to develop the Anamcara tradition inherited from their Druid (ancestors). By the year 1000, Irish Anamcara extended their influence throughout the mainland of Europe, especially among the newly established hospices. The earliest Western hospice tradition, the Ars Moriendi or The Art of Dying, owes much to the spiritual legacy of the Anamcara.
 
In the early hospices it was understood that death is not the opposite of life, but the opposite of birth. In many of these hospices, such as L’Hôtel-Dieu de Beaune in France, it has been said that it was common to see women giving birth on one side of the room while people were dying on the other side, all guided by midwives, while minstrels strolled around playing soothing music. Death may not be the opposite of life, but it is certainly a part of life, and there are many social and religious traditions that recognize and honor death as the sacred, intimate journey that it is. But sadly, our Judeo-Christian view has created a culture of denial around death, and hospice care is still not generally understood or accepted.
 
“People think of hospice as an agency,” says Roy Green, chaplain and spiritual care coordinator for the Hospice Center in Bend, Oregon. “The idea caught on in the U.S. in 1975, but in ancient times it literally meant ‘hospitality,’ a process of assisting travelers with their journeys, including the journeys of birth and death. In those times, we lived closer to the land, we saw people and animals die all the time, and there was nothing terrible or frightening about it. The terror came along withreligious doctrine, with the concept of evil and punishment, and hence we now have a fear of deathimbedded in our culture.”
 
The denial and fear of death is clearly a western phenomenon, and it is especially pronounced in the United States.
 
“We have so many drugs and so much medical technology that we constantly perpetrate the idea that death can be forestalled,” Green says. “Yet at the same time, Americans are fascinated with death.We want to see it in movies, but only if the images are bloody and dramatic, and only if it’s the ‘bad guys’ who die. These images express our fear of death and feed our denial.”
 
One of the great losses to our society over the last few generations is the sacred process of caring for our dead at home. Before the industrial revolution, when grandma was dying, she was surrounded by her family, including young children, and after death her body was cleaned, dressed and laid out on a table for viewing by friends and family. The body was then buried in a family graveyard on the family acreage. It was a natural and expected passage, and there is now a growing movement in the U.S. to return to these practices in the hope of bringing death back into light and out of the dark place where it’s been relegated by fear, repression and religious dogma. My son had a beautiful death at home, with his beloved dog and his family by his side. I’d learned from the home death movement that a body can stay at home much longer than modern practices dictate, and we kept my son’s body with us for five hours before calling the mortuary. It gave us a chance to gently and consciously release his physical presence, and to honor the sacred vessel that had done such a worthy job of housing his soul. 
 
“Dying at home creates a more honest space for grieving,” Green says. “Death should be as fearless and accompanied as possible, and grief should be as honest as possible. If we sidestep any of the process, something will be destroyed in us. In end-of-life care we strive for two things with patients and their families… removal of physical pain and removal of spiritual pain. The physical pain is managed by medication. The spiritual pain is a bit more challenging. We work to heal obstacles that may be keeping someone from having a peaceful death, such as forgiveness issues, a belief in divine punishment, or fears about death in general. And we work to honor innate knowledge, inner gifts and the positive experiences in the person’s life as affirmations throughout the dying process. 
 
An honest approach to death and grieving is the key to tapping in to those gifts. Embracing death with boundless leaps of faith can shift the experience of life-threatening illness or trauma from terrifying to transcendent. An understanding of our own divinity and the perfect journey of our souls, supported by guides, angels and loved ones who have passed before us, helps us understand death as simply a journey to another room, where life continues in a different form. Prayers and meditations for opening the heart to gratitude and inner guidance can help us ultimately see all deaths as pathways to healing.
 
THE HEALING POWER OF RITUAL
 
The Anamcara Project taught me that in order to fully process grief, trauma or transition of any kind, ritual is a mandatory step in the journey to healing. There are other valuable resources of course, including counseling, meditation, support groups, books and spiritual practice, but without ritual, these other tools only get the job partially done.
 
In my work as an author, teacher and grief counselor, I’ve been asked many times to suggest simple rituals that can help with the process of facing and walking through painful changes, particularly the death of a loved one. Some of the rituals described here involve the participation of the person who is dying, and some are exclusively for those who remain on earth. These rituals presume that an honest dialog about death has already begun. 
 
Create a Journey Blanket
 
If you have a loved one who is dying, consider creating a memorial quilt or “journey blanket” for him or her. 18 months before my son died, I gathered a group of friends in my living room for a potluck dinner and a quilting bee. Each person brought a piece of fabric that had special meaning to them, and these — along with pieces of fabric from my son’s own life — were cobbled into a beautiful patchwork quilt, filled with love, prayers and blessings. It was far from technically perfect, with sloppy stitching and uneven squares, but the energy it held was magical. The quilt was very warm and my son slept with it for the next two winters. The following summer he died lying on top of that quilt, and now I sleep and meditate with it, and it has become my journey blanket also.
 
Get a Tattoo
 
Many of the firefighters who battled the blaze at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 felt unbearable grief and guilt about the partners who’d fought beside them and perished. Some of them processed and ritualized their grief by having images of their fallen friends tattooed on their backs. The firefighters said, “This way I will have my partner’s spirit with me every day of my life.” When I heard about this, I asked my son (11 years old at the time) what animal he would be if he could choose to be one. He chose a swan, and the following week I had a tattoo of a swan on my left shoulder.
 
Locks of Love
 
In the days leading up to my son’s death, while he was in and out of consciousness, I often sat beside him stroking his beautiful, thick hair. One day I realized that locks of his hair would make extraordinary gifts for the people who loved him, so with his permission, I snipped small pieces and tied each with a delicate red ribbon. I’ve given them all away except for the one I kept for myself.
 
Put it in a Locket
 
I keep a tiny snippet of that hair in a heart-shaped locket that I wear almost every day.
 
 
Open the Treasure Chest and Give the Riches Away
 
When you’re ready to start going through your departed loved one’s possessions, think of it as a sacred rite of passage. Invite friends to help, and light candles, say prayers, open a bottle of champagne and share memories, stories, laughter and tears as you look through the precious objects. Set aside selected items to give to friends as remembrance tokens, or make something wonderful and creative out of them. One of my friends had a quilt made from her husband’s favorite shirts, and another made pillowcases from her mother’s antique tablecloths. 
 
Hold Court
 
If the dying person is open to it and is physically capable, he can choose which belongings and special objects he’d like to give to friends and family members. When my friend Betty was dying, she asked her sons to display her special possessions around the house. She was a collector of healing crystals, and the dining room table was covered with magnificent geodes, quartz obelisks, rare stones and other sacred objects. Her friends were invited to take whatever pieces called out to them, with Betty’s full participation and blessing. She even chose to have her memorial service while she was still alive. Friends gathered at her house to tell heartwarming stories about their experiences with Betty, light candles, sing songs and recite beautiful prayers and readings while Betty sat in her wheelchair, beaming with happiness.
 
Plant a Tree or a Memorial Garden
 
If you can’t plant a tree or shrub in a public place in honor of your loved one, create a special corner of your yard as a memorial garden. Plant special trees and flowers there, and decorate the space with pictures, sacred objects, religious icons or anything that inspires you. If your loved one was cremated, this is an excellent place to sprinkle some of the ashes. The students at my son’s high school raised money to purchase a magnolia tree, which was planted in his honor in front of the special education building where he’d spent the last year of his academic life.
 
Send your Loved One on a World Tour
 
There are many creative and meaningful ways to use cremation ashes (also known as “cremains”) in ceremony, and the ceremonies do not have to be formal or somber. Because my son loved to travel, I divided some of his ashes into tiny, decorated bottles and gave one to each of our closest friends to carry with them on their vacations and business trips. His ashes have now been sprinkled in at least a dozen countries. We’re aiming for all seven continents eventually. 
 
Keep Your Loved One’s Name Alive
 
Four months after my son died I had my last name legally changed to his first name… Daniel. You may not want to go so far as to legally change your name, but you can find dozens of imaginative ways to keep your loved one’s name alive. Use her nickname as one of your computer passwords, or start a business, charitable group or website using a variation of it. Engrave his name on a paving stone for your memorial garden, or hire a graphic artist to design a logo or icon for the name. 
 
Adopt Your Loved One’s Birthday as Your Own
 

My friend Dave lost his 19 year-old son Peter to a motorcycle accident 40 years ago. That year Dave adopted Peter’s birthday as his own, and has celebrated it on that day every since. Dave was a community leader in his city, and knew hundreds of people. Each year he threw a huge party on his adopted birthday, and through the years most people had no idea that it wasn’t his original date of birth. He’s in his 90s now, and facing his own death with eagerness, dignity and grace.

 

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