Q: How do we celebrate someone’s life after they die? This is a good question and based upon your spiritual, religious or cultural beliefs, you might have certain expectations in this area. However, when we think about our lives and those of the ones we love and that have died before us, we really think about relationships.

As you are faced with planning a memorial service, a celebration of life, or a funeral for a loved one, think about what made their life so special. Who were the important relationships in their life? Perhaps you could have those people speak. It is becoming more common these days for friends and relatives, often multiple ones, to share their memories of the loved one during a remembrance service. It can be helpful to add humor when telling these stories, as it makes us remember that we are all born to die, and life, with it’s joys and sorrows, is the journey to that end.   A memorial service, celebration of life, or funeral is a time to really talk about the person and his or her impact on those around him or her. You might have their favorite foods at a reception before or after. You would certainly – hopefully – have some of their favorite music if the setting allows for this.

Aside from within a formal service, there are ways to remember those we love by vacationing where they always enjoyed vacationing with their family, visiting those that they used to visit regularly and talking to those people they visited about your loved one, so you can share memories together. You might also donate to a civic organization or church in memory or honor of them with a note to that organization as to why you chose to donate and what they meant to your loved one.

As a family, you might all get together and share your funniest experiences and write these down, so you can go back and read them together. That history can be passed down from generation to generation and it’s entertaining in the process. Use your imagination when thinking about how to remember and honor those you loved who have gone before you and enriched your life.        

For the last decade, Amy Hane has been committed to serving the CSRA community by guiding those going through mental, physical and social issues related to caring for an aging or disabled loved one. She assists families with transitions to higher quality care for the safety and wellbeing of all involved.

Amy holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of South Carolina, is a licensed Master Social Worker in South Carolina and Georgia, an Advanced Professional Aging Life Care Manager and also a Certified Advanced Social Work Case Manager.