This year has been a difficult one for me in terms of loss. But it got me thinking: What are the best ways to honor the dead once we’ve said our final goodbyes? Not just our human loved ones, of course, but also the four-footed friends we hold near and dear to our hearts.
Sometimes children can be our best source of comfort. Recently, my daughter Indigo used her art skills to help our family cope with the loss of an animal we loved so very much during her short time on this planet. Indigo used natural elements to create a glittery shrine in her memory. Now we see this special remembrance every day and can even meditate by it if we choose.
Here are 14 additional ways we can honor our dearly departed animal …
1. Trace their name in the sand.
2. Watch the sun rise or set—and mediate on how they brightened your life.
3. Plant a tree in their honor. Watching a living plant sprout new growth year after year is therapeutic to the soul.
4. Donate to an animal charity in your furbaby’s name, or volunteer to help other animals in need.
5. Get a tattoo.
Non-bloody look at my tattoo. Wife got the same. Done in memory of our pet Zeus who passed late last year. My design pic.twitter.com/aQzxrTXsnA
— Joe Moore (@Joe_Toyark) July 9, 2016
6. Place a special garden statue or an engraved stone of remembrance.
7. Save their paw print. It can be as simple as a lasting image made with an inkpad and acid-free paper (as my sister did for her kitty Sterling), or something fancier, like this keepsake mold of their print.
8. Wear a special dog tag or use a key chain that reminds you of them.
9. Adopt again. Sometimes opening your heart to a new life needing love is the best way to heal.
10. Create a high-quality photo book showcasing their life. (I love the products from Pinhole Press.)
11. Create a memorial video, which I did many years ago to honor Dakota, my first Reiki teacher. Watching this still brings tears to my eyes!
12. Create a beautiful piece of jewelry. I especially love these unique nose print necklaces.
13. Donate unused food and supplies to the local shelter.
14. Enlarge your favorite photo into a work of art. Costco, Shutterfly and Walgreens all offer lots of options; PhotoBarn takes your photo next-level by printing it onto a beautiful piece of wood.
Tell me: How did you cope with the loss of an animal you loved to the stars (and back)? I’d love to hear about the special ways you continue to honor their memory and life in the months and years following their passing.