How to Honor a Loved One This Thanksgiving

Posted by: Erin Ward in Grief and Guidance, Memorialization | July 8, 2021
Whether it’s been one, five, or 10 years after a loved one’s passing, holidays like Thanksgiving can be difficult without their physical presence. However, there are many meaningful ways you can honor a loved one this Thanksgiving.

Below are a few ideas that we hope bring your family some comfort.

Share Your Favorite Stories About Your Loved One

Even though your loved one passed, you can continue to learn more about them through storytelling. Stories are a powerful way to make sure a loved one’s memory lives on forever. Whether it's an experience they told you about or a memory you have with them, it’s something everyone can enjoy hearing about.

Say a Remembrance Poem or Another Piece of Literature

Before you eat, say a remembrance poem, quote, scripture, or prayer to show that your loved one is present in your hearts. By doing a quick online search, you can easily find something short and sweet to read out loud. Or don’t be afraid to write something of your own.

Make Their Favorite Thanksgiving Dish

Was your loved one known for going back for a second (or third or fourth) helping of a certain side dish? Or would they be disappointed if they didn’t get slice of their go-to pie flavor? Honor their memory by making their favorite Thanksgiving dish for everyone to enjoy.

Try Your Hand at Their Famous Recipes

Perhaps your loved one was one of the family’s go-to chefs for holiday gatherings. Along with their physical absence, there also may be the noticeable absence of their signature dishes.  Another way you can honor a loved one is to try your hand at making their famous recipes. You can even make it a group activity and include younger family members so they can learn more about their loved one.

Donate Thanksgiving Leftovers in Their Name

What better way to honor a loved one than to give back to those in need? Oftentimes, we overestimate how much food we need to make and end up with more leftovers than planned. Instead of tossing them, donate them to a local food bank. Or, even better, make a few extra dishes specifically for donating in your loved one’s name.

Visit Their Gravesite or Ash Scattering Location

If you live near your loved one’s gravesite or ash scattering location, take some time to visit the spot. You can think about them, talk to them, leave flowers, or whatever helps you grieve and remember them. You can do this alone or as a family; whatever you’re most comfortable with.

Look Through Family Photo Albums

Sometimes, photos spark memories that you forgot about. By looking through family photo albums, you can reflect on the fun times with your loved one. If you’re having a virtual Thanksgiving, consider creating a digital photo album to share with your family members.

How are you honoring a loved one this Thanksgiving? Share your ideas with us in the comments!

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