What are the spirits of the dead if not the memories of the living? The part of those you’ve known that you carry within you, like a program downloaded into your own heart and soul, which can, at any present moment, be opened, run, played like a song.
A client named Lisa expressed her regret to me that she lives too far away from where her parents are buried to put flowers on their graves for Memorial Day. Lisa said that every May, year after year, she feels that she is “failing” to properly honor their spirits. She does technically remember them — but with a deep sadness and guilt, picturing their markers bare except for weeds. She worries that they wonder why she is not connecting with them.
I assured her that the physical location of their remains isn’t nearly as relevant to that connection as she has chosen to believe. Contrary to the pop culture creep factor of ghost hunting in graveyards, spirits don’t hang out around the places where their bodies are interred — they may never have even visited that location during their lifetimes.
Spirits return to the places where they have lived — and, even more so, they are drawn to the souls of those who love and remember them, wherever the living may be.
How to Be Your Own Medium
There are powerful alternatives to putting flowers on a grave in order to connect with a departed loved one:
- Look at photographs
- Get together or call those who also knew them and revisit shared memories
- Tell stories about them — especially to your children or people who did not know them in life
- Write about them
- Wear a piece of jewelry or clothing that you inherited from them
- Hold a treasure that belonged to them
- Read their letters, diaries, or a book you know they loved
- Cook a dish they used to prepare for you
- Listen to their favorite music
- Go to a special location or a view that they loved
- Rent their favorite movies and watch them with someone who’s never seen them before
- Research your family tree and give copies to younger generations
- Throw a party and create new wakes, now more thankfully distant from grief
- Buy flowers for them, but display them in your own house
- Sit in someone’s favorite chair
- Take a nap with a blanket that they made
- Display their artwork
- Make scrapbooks or publish your own book about them
- Plant trees in your own yard that will be continual reminders
My parents planted a weeping willow tree in the yard of the house where I grew up. My Mama told me that it was my grandmother’s favorite kind of tree, and although it’s hundreds of miles from her grave or anywhere that she ever lived, it makes me think of her every time I see it.
Just like your computer can open a document or image or file that was created on someone else’s computer, your heart (your mind) is a medium for spirit — your own spirit as well as the spirits of others.
The key to opening that spiritual file is not just any memory but a specifically a joyful one.
Who would want to come around just so they can revisit only the painful moments from their lives, or witness your grief, sadness, and regrets?
If you want to connect with your departed loved ones, the magic password is laughter-through-tears:
When you recall the memory that makes you laugh out loud, or at least smile — even as it follows those painful emotions — that’s the frequency, the vibration, the signal, that reconnects the eternal, the timeless, with the present.
Image credit © h.koppdelaney via Flickr
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