Create new traditions after a loss

Treasured events and milestones, like vacations, graduations and anniversaries, can be difficult for a family when an important person is missing. After a loved one dies, some people find comfort in the old traditions. Others find them unbearably painful. So as you face the next holiday or special occasion, maybe it’s time to reconsider your traditions.

Take a family vacation somewhere completely different; a cruise instead of the mountains, a long weekend in the city instead of a beach trip.

Play your loved one’s favorite music or game when family gets together; this is a good way to help children remember someone who has died. (“Granddad loved to play gin rummy.”)

  • Make your loved one’s favorite meal.
  • Create a memory box filled with photos, memories written down by family and friends, young children’s drawings, etc.
  • Make a decorative quilt using colors, symbols or images that remind you of the person who died.
  • Light a candle in honor of your loved one.
  • Put a bouquet of flowers on your holiday table in memory of your loved one.
  • Visit the cemetery and decorate the burial site with holiday decorations.
  • Place a commemorative ornament on the Christmas tree.
  • Dedicate one of the Chanukah candles in memory of your loved one. 

(Provided by VITAS Innovative Hospice Care, which offers hospice care to patients and families in Los Angeles, Ventura County, the San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Cities and Coastal Cities. Go to


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