Have you ever thought about what happens after you die? Not to you, but to those still living? How will they remember you? How do you want to be remembered? After having a medical scare or near death experience, you start to think about these things. You might wonder, once I’m gone, “Is my birthday now just another date on the calendar?”
When I was diagnosed with cancer, I began to ask myself all of these questions and more. Besides the worry of not being remembered, I was also concerned about the grief of my loved ones.
How We Remember the Dead
In Judaism and other religions as well, we remember loved ones on the date of their deaths. We light candles and say prayers, but this is often a sorrowful time. Is this really how we want to be remembered?
My grandma loved her family, teaching, and chocolate. Her joy, especially when around family, was contagious. Even though Judaism was important to her, I thought there needed to be another way, besides a Yahrzeit, to remember my beautiful grandma. Although I understand the importance of rituals, I wondered if there was another, happier way to honor her life.
The Special Way to Honor the Lives and Memories of Deceased Loved Ones
In order to honor the memories of the wonderful people of our lives, let’s be happy and share that happiness with others. Each year, on that amazing person’s birthday, let’s do something special for both ourselves and someone else, thus creating happiness and sharing it. These treats can be small or large objects or actions. Maybe, you celebrate a life with a cup of coffee for you and a friend. Perhaps, you honor someone’s memory with a vacation for yourself and a donation to a local charity. A scenic bike ride and a pay-it-forward would be wonderful!
Happy Birthday, Grandma!
This year, on Grandma’s birthday I treated myself and my mom to a trip to Starbucks. I got a mocha latte, in honor of Grandma’s love of chocolate. Then, my mom and I had a wonderful conversation over coffee and pastries. Grandma would have loved that!