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10 Ways to Immortalize a Loved One

10 Ways to Immortalize a Loved One

Losing a loved one is a universally shared experience. However, the pain and emotion we experience is still deeply personal.

It can be difficult to accept that your friend or family member won’t be around anymore, but there are many things you can do to ensure his or her memory lives on forever:

1. Plant a Tree Using Their Ashes

plant a tree

    There is something humanly beautiful about the circle of life. Cremation creates the opportunity to experience this phenomenon first hand. Use your loved one’s ashes to plant a tree in their honor.

    Companies like Bios Urn and Poetree allow you to use the memory of a deceased family member or friend to impact the world in a meaningful and environmentally friendly way.

    2. Name a Star After Them

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    stars

      Stars are powerful representations for many of us, both figuratively and literally. If your deceased friend or family member was an astronomy enthusiast or just represented a strong influence in your life, star-naming is a wonderful option.

      The International Star Registry is a company that will allow you to commemorate the name and memory of your loved one beautifully.

      3. Get Their Portrait Tattooed on Your Skin

      tattoo

        If you are a body-art enthusiast, having a portrait of your loved one tattooed on your body can be a very personal way to pay tribute to someone.

        Just be sure to choose a reputable artist to get the best quality work. The last thing you want is a bad experience associated with something so meaningful.

        4. Keep a Diary of Your Thoughts to That Person

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        journal

          Sometimes losing someone means being left with unexpressed feelings. Other times it means positive life experiences lose their luster when they can’t be shared with a loved one who has gone on.

          Journal writing can be very therapeutic. Perhaps writing to the person you’ve lost and sharing your emotions, dreams, concerns and thoughts can keep his or her memory alive.

          5. Print and Frame a Collage of Old E-mails or Texts They Sent to You

          collage

            We tend to miss the everyday things about the people we lose. Maybe your best friend would send you funny emails every Friday. Or maybe your husband would send you sweet texts as he thought of you throughout the day.

            Crafting a collage or shadow box with reminders of the person you loved can serve as a source of inspiration.  Or, when you’re feeling down, these beautiful reminders can lift your spirits.

            6. Start a Charity or Advocacy Movement in Their Honor

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            charity

              Many people find it fulfilling to advocate on behalf of friends or family members who died tragically or unjustly. Pushing for change in the name of your loved one gives a tragic death an honorable memory.

              The family of Kyle Lewis started an amoeba awareness campaign after the four-year-old died from an amoeba contracted while swimming in fresh water. The family spreads awareness about freshwater swimming and provides nose plugs for free.

              7. Don’t Lose Touch With Their Family

              stay in touch

                Families often become distant when people pass away. Keeping in touch with each other not only keeps the memory of your loved one alive, but also honors the loved one’s desire to see your families stay together.

                It doesn’t take much to periodically call or send a card to siblings or cousins. Just let them know you’re thinking of them.

                8. Remember Their Birthday Every Year

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                birthday

                  Birthdays can be really hard for surviving family members and friends. Instead of being sad, though, many people throw birthday parties, visit their loved one’s grave site or participate in some other activity in their memory.

                  9. Write a Creative Nonfiction Story About What They Meant to You

                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/34222973@N08/3402221680

                    Special experiences shared with loved ones are dear to us. After a close friend or relative has passed away, remembering the good times and shared experiences helps keep their memory alive.

                    Write a short story about a particularly inspiring, deep or positive shared moment. It’s a wonderful way to both express yourself and share the memory of your companion with others.

                    10. If You Can, Make Sure They Know How Much They Mean to You Right Now

                    know you care

                      One of life’s hardest lessons is learning that you must show and tell the people dear to you that you love and care about them. Make sure they know how much they mean to you now. Don’t wait until they’ve gone away to appreciate life with them.

                      While we all suffer greatly at the loss of loved ones (which speaks volumes for the strength of love), we can channel that grief into something beautiful by focusing on honoring their lives and memories.

                      Featured photo credit: pamhule via flickr.com

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                      Kayla Matthews

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                      The Gentle Art of Saying No

                      The Gentle Art of Saying No

                      No!

                      It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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                      But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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                      What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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                      But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

                      1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
                      2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
                      3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
                      4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
                      5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
                      6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
                      7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
                      8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
                      9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
                      10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

                      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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