One. Relationship with the Person who has Died

Next Pillar

What Helps

The more important they were in our life, the more we loved them, the more we will miss them.

The contradiction here is that having had a difficult relationship with a significant person in our life, who has died, can make the grieving process harder, because there are likely to be regrets, and no longer the opportunity to put things right. 

We’ve seen in the stories that the relationship with the person who has died although radically altered, continues, loving them in absence, rather than presence. Some people may need to do this a great deal, others only occasionally or on special days like anniversaries.

A central pillar to support our system is to: find ways of externalising that relationship

  • It may be by wearing something that connects to them, like their watch, a name band or an article of their clothing like a scarf
  • It may be visiting their grave, creating a memory box in which you put in special objects like their glasses, or cards or pressed flowers; a photograph album or writing to them in a journal of in the form of a letter
  • Cooking their favourite recipe
  • Posting online an image you know they’d have loved

There are multiple of ways to do this. Finding an external expression for continuing this relationship through regular rituals is not only important but has been shown to reduce negative emotions and increase positive ones. 

Over time the regularity of these rituals may lessen. 

The biggest indicator of how much  pain we are in, is the quality of the relationship and how much we loved  the person who died.

Relationship with Oneself

As our relationship with the world and others is changed by grief, so does our relationship with ourself change.