“I keep thinking of all the things I would have bought for her this year . . . it tears me apart.”  This bereaved mother, who lost her only child six months ago, echoed a frequent lament amongst grievers.  During the holidays, it is painful not to shop for their loved ones. What may be a better idea, is to shop for a memorial gift that will help stay connected to your loved one.

What I frequently suggest is to buy that special item, the gift that would have meant so much, and donate it to a charity in honor of their dear one.  There are a wide variety of places happy to receive gifts of love, from homeless shelters and women’s shelters to educational facilities and hospital waiting rooms.

No, it’s not the same as watching your loved one’s face light up on Christmas morning.  Still, the gesture can be meaningful and even take on significance as an annual ritual.  You get to shop for your special someone, and you get to pass it forward to another who will benefit from your thoughtfulness.

 Memorial giving is a way to stay connected to your beloved one, which is an important aspect of grieving.  Your loved one has died, but your relationship lives on.  Finding creative ways to remember and to feel connected while helping others in the process is truly a win-win.

Author:  Ashley Davis Bush, LCSW   www.ashleydavisbush.com

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