By Julia Broglie, Founder & CEO of BroglieBox
7 min read
As an entrepreneur who launched a company as a tribute to my late brother, I am often asked, how can I honor my loved one like you have? I always cringe when I hear this question because everyone’s journey with grief is unique. While mine led me to create a company, it doesn’t mean that everyone needs to go so big to properly honor their loved one. There are countless ways to keep your loved one’s memory alive and continue to honor them, long after their passing.
Most importantly though, first take as much time as you personally need before jumping into any huge initiative or big change. My entire first year after my brother’s death was spent grieving – nothing else. Taking time to mourn his death and managing my own fragile mental health, was the best first step.
Everyone grieves differently and every death you experience may affect you in it’s own unique way. There is no one “right way” to grieve or honor someone who has passed away.
Give yourself permission to honor your loved one in a way that is completely special to you.
Here are some of my ideas but they are no way 100% inclusive. As you are reading this, write down any new ideas that may pop up to revisit later, when you are ready.
Ways to honor your loved one:
- Take care of yourself and your mental health. Self-care while grieving is oftentimes overlooked. Your loved one would want to see you healthy, prioritizing both your physical health and your mental health. It can be as simple and important as daily hygiene: showering, brushing your teeth, drinking enough water. It could be scheduling an appointment with a grief therapist, or taking yourself on a daily walk around the neighborhood.
- Do an activity that they loved to do. My brother loved to be outside and hike in nature. When I am out for walks or hiking in the woods, I think of him and can almost picture him there.
- Cook their favorite meal. There was a period of time that I either deprived myself of my brother’s favorite foods or I’d feel guilty that I was eating them when he couldn’t anymore. Then I realized that he would want me to enjoy his favorite foods because they were just that; his favorites!
- Stay in touch with people they loved; friends, co-workers, caregivers. I still regularly talk to and see some of my brother’s friends. It makes me feel close to him because of the many similar interests they shared. If your loved one spent time in a hospital or had a special caregiver, keeping that relationship alive in some way is often very comforting. My Mom still keeps in touch with the nurses at my Grandma’s former assisted living home and occasionally she even still sends lunch to the caregivers working there. Other smaller gestures are just as nice such as sending a card or dropping off some coffee as a reminder of how thankful you are that they took such great care of your loved one.
- Find a cause that was meaningful or significant to them and support it. My family put together a team and walked in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Walk. Most charities have programs and/or walks that are completely free and raising money for the cause is optional. A friend of mine lost an uncle who was in the military so she has found volunteer work with veterans.
- Create a memory box. You can repurpose your BroglieBox as the “keeper” of the precious items you want to save. Place photos, letters, cards, jewelry inside for safe keeping. You might find yourself experiencing a flood of memories sometimes and writing them in your memory journal allows you to save them forever.
And finally, be kind to yourself and forgiving in your grieving process. This might be, by far, the greatest way to honor your loved one. After all, they loved you.
Honoring your loved one in your own unique way is a process that takes time but will find its way into your life story.
Julia Broglie is the founder and CEO of BroglieBox, an all-inclusive, gender-neutral, care package box that delivers tools and resources for mental wellness in a way that feels warm, lighthearted, and fun. Julia was inspired to create BroglieBox after experiencing her own mental health challenges as a young adult and losing her older brother Justin to suicide when he was just 24. Justin’s passing inspired Julia to imagine a new way to deliver support and connection to those struggling with mental health challenges in today’s hectic, fast-paced and often impersonal world.
Grief and depression are battles that are hard to fight alone. Please check out some of these other articles and resources:
Taking Medicine Does Not Mean Something Is “Wrong” With You
CRISIS AND SUPPORT PHONE/TEXT LINES
Mental Health is a Team Sport: I Have Anxiety/Depression and my Husband Doesn’t, But We Both Fight It.