I Can’t Visit their Grave

I can’t visit their Grave

If you are unable to visit someone you love’s grave, thats okay! You are not alone. Here are alternatives to visiting their grave:

1. Create a special area in the house or garden as a tribute to the loved one- put up photos, flowers in a vase or light a special candle.

2. Write a heartfelt letter to the loved one– some people find it helpful to burn the letter with the ashes/ smoke symbolically going ‘up to heaven’ to reach their loved one.

3. Spend a few hours creating a memory book with special photos, memories, thoughts and tributes. This activity is therapeutic, healing and honours the memory of the one who has been lost.

4. Plant a small plant in a special area of the garden (or wilderness) and tend to that area and think about your loved one and say a prayer or talk to them about how you feel, if appropriate.

5. Create a memory box containing special objects such as photos, letters and other sentimental items. This can be buried in a special area of the garden and visited regularly. Flowers can also be placed here.

6. Going through the possessions of a loved one can be incredibly hard, but it can also be a way of bringing to mind memories and stories. You could create a box of memories as you discover different items.

If you’re struggling to face visiting a loved ones grave, and are worried about it, you may want to see some reasons why visiting their grave may help you in the grieving process…

does visiting the grave help us grieve?

1. It provides a place of connection

For some, a loved one’s final resting place is a cemetery. For others, particularly those whose loved one was cremated, a final resting place may be a body of water, a park, or some other special place. No matter where that place may be, going there may help you feel more connected to the person you love. Knowing that you are where they are, or you are in a place special to them, brings a sense of connectedness and closeness that may be less achievable in other places.

2. Provides a time for solitude, contemplation, or prayer

After losing a loved one, you may be feeling a lot of emotions. Sometimes, it’s beneficial to sit in quiet and take time to think or to pray. If you are someone who journals, take a notebook to the cemetery with you and simply write out what you’re thinking and feeling. Being so close to your loved one may help you sincerely express what’s in your heart and on your mind.

3. Provides an opportunity to talk to your loved one

What wouldn’t we give for just one more conversation with a loved one? While you may not hear their answers, you can still talk to a lost loved one. You’ve seen it in movies and on TV – it’s a real thing. People want to feel a sense of connection. They want to talk to the person they’ve lost. What do they do? They go to the cemetery and have the conversation they need to have. It’s normal, natural, and a meaningful way to grieve. So, if you want to have that conversation, go do it. You’ll feel better.

What Can You Do at the Graveside?

You can tailor your visit to your own and your family’s needs. There’s really no wrong way to go about this. However, to give you a start, here are a few thoughts to consider.

  • Bring a bouquet of flowers to leave
  • Place a favourite photo at the grave
  • Decorate the grave (i.e. for Christmas or a birthday)
  • Walk and/or kneel and pray or meditate
  • Talk to your loved one, sharing your plans for the future or reflecting on the past
  • If you came with family members or friends, share memories
  • If there’s a bench nearby, sit down and eat a picnic lunch or simply take in your surroundings

Here are some videos on the topic of grief:

Credit: Russell Brand
Credit: SAFA Toolbox Coping with Bereavement and Loss by Dr. John Wilson


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