Two weeks ago my dear client (and friend) Magne died of cancer. She was only in her early 50’s, so her death left many young children and grand-children behind. I knew it was important for me to find my own unique way to say goodbye to her and honor her life. As I reflected on what she valued, 2 things immediately rose to the surface: Family and Spirituality. And just like that, I knew what I would do.
I asked the family if I could invite her youngest daughter (Nadine, 15) and her two grand-daughters (Amber, 11 and Annika, 8) over for an upcoming Saturday. I envisioned a celebration of life, both to honor and remember the wonderful woman that she was AND to give thanks for the living that we have yet to do. My intent was two-fold: to make sure that they knew it was okay to keep living and having fun (because that’s what their mom/grandma would want) and to talk about how they could remain connected to their mom/grandma even though she was physically gone.
The girls were eager to come over, so we chose the first available Saturday (which happened to be today). Since I had met the girls before, there was no awkwardness and we were able to jump right into the fun. Pool time was at the top of the agenda and proved to be a major hit. I even donned a suit for the occasion AND got wet (something I do about once a year). It was definitely a special day!
After tiring ourselves out in the pool we retired upstairs to enjoy some pizza for lunch. I used our lunchtime conversation as an opening to talk about how they were feeling about their Mom/Grandma’s death. I wanted them to feel like they could still openly communicate with their Mom/Grandma, so I gifted them each with a Prayer Box. I explained that when they were worried about something they could simply write it on a piece of paper, drop it in the prayer box and trust that their Mom/Grandma and God would take care of it. The girls really seemed to like the idea and also talked about writing down memories of her to keep in there as well.
After lunch we continued on with the fun. Next up was movie time and pedicures. Each girl took a turn getting their nails done by Norma while we enjoyed the movie. What a treat it was to pamper them – you could tell they really enjoyed it!
As our day came to a close, I felt certain that Magne was smiling down on us. Not only was it fun, but my heart felt lighter knowing that I got to care for the people she loved most. When I decided to be a cancer coach I worried for a time about how I would deal with the deaths of clients, but I know now that I simply have to find a way to honor each one uniquely and that the letting go will come when I do that.
I would love to hear more about the unique ways in which you’ve honored loved ones who’ve died. Please share if you feel so moved…