Remembering our Lost with Touchpoints

Ways to remember someone who passed away

Remembering our Lost with Touchpoints

In the time following a loved one’s death, a family begins to make attempts at establishing ways to remember their loved one. One way to remember is to incorporate touchpoints into our lives. According to the dictionary, a touch point is “a mark or effect left … at a place that will emphasize or bring notice to a person at a special moment when a tender touch or remembrance is needed.”

Deep within the human spirit is the need to honor and remember the people we love. It is almost an unheard cry of the soul to pledge never to forget the person and his or her part in our lives. Because of this desire to keep memories alive, people are encouraged to make touch points places to remember their loved ones. These touch points are not only physical reminders, but they also contribute to bringing comfort and peace to the heart and soul. Some touch points help bring closure to a loss. Others provide an ongoing source of remembrance whenever they cross our paths, our minds, and our thoughts. Touchpoints become a valuable part of grief recovery and a return to moving into a place of acceptance and restoration.

Ideas for Touchpoints:

  1. The cemetery gravesite is a good place to begin. Choosing a marker and meaningful inscriptions are important. Give yourself time to make a meaningful touchpoint.
  2. For families who choose cremation, there are a number of options that can help to build “touch points” for you. You may choose to use an urn/box for the ashes and keep them at home. You may choose to scatter the ashes, and when doing so, the time, place, and people involved can be a memory builder for everyone.
  3. Photos, poems, etc., can become a part of the family’s goodbye to their loved one. The place and time you choose will set in motion a yearly remembrance of your loved one that will provide sweet memories.
  4. In situations where a death has been an accident, one way that many families choose to remember is to put a cross/flowers at the location where the accident occurred. These sites are healing for a family member to see, and the public will be made aware of the death.
  5. Sometimes, in cases of homicide, drowning, etc., a memorial place can be established at the location. When a death occurs at a location where a permanent memorial cannot be placed, then a family may choose to plant a tree in a park, along a roadside, at their church, or their home.
  6. A living tree/plant represents a life well lived and a promise that life goes on.
  7. A memorial at a church, youth center, community center, and park are also options. Many times, a family can place a memorial marker at the site with their loved one’s name. No matter what the cause or situation of death, there are numerous ways a family can make their loved one’s life remembered.
  8. Your home is usually the most important place to remember your loved one: pictures on the wall, maybe a wall of pictures from childhood up to the present. Keepsake boxes with personal items are good. Making the memory in your home can be suited to highlight your loved one’s interests and personality. Let your imagination flow! Each time people come into the home, they will be drawn to what that person’s life reflected.
  9. A touch point can be established by finding a special place or a corner of your home where you can go to be alone with your loss. For instance, a quiet patio with plants, comfortable chairs, and a view of the clouds and the sky could become your “touch point” place for remembering.
  10. You could place a candle, a small picture, or a vase with a rose on a table nearby and use this area for your daily devotions and prayer. Tell your family that this is your place to be alone. Find a corner with a comfortable chair in your bedroom or living room and do the same. Finding a place of your own is important.
  11. You may find that the outdoors is good—a familiar walking path in the park, a chair in the garage or workshop, a bench in the backyard. Be creative and think of what your needs will be for a “touch point” place of your own.
  12. You may decide to plant flowers in a planter/flower bed, and as they bloom, place holiday items with them, such as plastic windmills that move with the wind, Easter eggs, flags, pumpkins, and anything seasonal.
  13. On birthdays and anniversaries, release balloons with notes, fly kites, or seasonal banners. Children especially enjoy visual remembrances. Let them decorate, make pictures, or write songs or poems.
  14. Help them make memory books to use as touch points for themselves. It will be difficult, so take your time. If it takes a year or two, don’t worry. You can always go back at any time.
  15. Making photo albums or scrapbooks are ways of preserving a person’s life for now and future generations. Be good to yourself and try not to rush into a project that you are not ready to handle. Scrapbooks and photo albums can be set aside until the time is right.

Deciding how and when to make a memory or memories of loved ones will differ for everyone. Holidays and seasons provide many opportunities to make touch points. Because holidays, like birthdays and the anniversary of a death, are so difficult to experience, especially in the first year, it is important to find one or two ways to remember your loved one at these times. The simpler, the better!

Used with permission from Grief Share
Author Judy Hawk
Kimberly Talmey RPC-C
Christian Fellowship Assembly
MMV by author and/or Church Initiative. Used by permission of the author. Reproducible when used in conjunction with a Church Initiative ministry.

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