Remembering & Honoring Lost Loved Ones

by dena on October 31, 2014

In some cultures and spiritual traditions, there are annual events to recognize and reminisce about loved ones who have passed from this life, whether their departures from physical form were recent or long ago. You might be familiar with the observances of All Souls Day or the Day of the Dead practices from Mexico. This seems a healthy approach to grief and a lovely way to bring awareness to the cycle of life.


In 1996, mid-autumn, I felt guided to host a community Remembrance Gathering. The first one was held at the lovely Gaia Healing Center in the Maryland countryside.

That evening, as well as in subsequent autumn Remembrance Gatherings at other locations, attendees were seated in a circle. All shared a common goal: they wanted to honor the lives of loved ones who had died, at any time. People paid tribute to family, friends, co-workers, public figures, ancestors, and animals.

The annual community event continued through 2002. I was living away from Frederick in 2003, after my husband’s death. For the next few years, I asked into my heart if another Gathering wanted to happen, and I didn’t find energy drawing me in this direction.

In 2006, I received a query from someone, asking if such an event would be happening. Within a few days, the new guidance showed up in the form of having it on a teleconference line. The tely format opened the free experience to many more than the in-person ones did. Folks from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, and Maryland, attended the one in 2006.

When brief verbal sharing was invited, it was voluntary. There was a sweet sense of connection among people on these calls.

While it has been a few years since the most recent community Remembrance Gathering via telephone (2008), I can imagine offering it again or perhaps seeing it evolve into some new incarnation.


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Elements of the Tely Remembrance Gatherings

  • a guided meditation
  • an honoring ceremony
  • brief sharing from those who wish to speak of their beloveds
  • creation of a group poem

Folks were invited to have photographs and other mementos and lighted candles nearby during the call, if they wished. Even by telephone, we were able to create sacred space together.

Some years, I set up at my kitchen table. One time, I sat on the top step to my upper hallway for the call. One wall there was filled with photos of precious family members and friends, many already in spirit. I brought candles, funeral cards, and a few more pictures. My cat companion, Poppy, sat with me during the Remembrance Gathering calls.

Poppy and my father’s cat, Dickens, are now in spirit.

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Group Poem Creation

The elements of love and beauty that emerged from this process always touched me. Participants were invited to speak a phrase that was meaningful about one of the loved ones. I jotted them down in the order they were spoken. Depending on the amount of time and the number of attendees, we had a 2nd go round with more lines.

I liked to read it aloud twice, slowly. Then, I told everyone I was going to read it a different way, reversing the order of the lines. Sometimes, we were even more astonished with the 2nd version. Here is a poem that was co-created in 2006.

Time falls away,

Love, Desire, Want!

Essence fills the space,

your laughter again fills me with gladness,

and your love is my redemption.

Honoring you,

my heart feels your joy,

our mother-daughter love goes on forever.

Your smile is my sunshine,

we are twin flames, separated but for a short while.

We could talk for hours about everything and nothing.

My heart forever sings with yours,

your creativity bubbles forth from me.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Your creativity bubbles forth from me,

my heart forever sings with yours.

We could talk for hours about everything and nothing.

We are twin flames, separated but for a short while,

your smile is my sunshine.

Our mother-daughter love goes on forever,

my heart feels your joy.

Honoring you,

your love is my redemption,

and your laughter again fills me with gladness.

Essence fills the space

– love, desire, want –

as time falls away.

FamPics - young Fran

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Whose Memory Do You Want to Honor?

If there are any Beloveds you would like to write about here, you are invited to bring a few words or many words to be witnessed.


You might also like to read of the Remembrance Gathering we held for our mother four months after her death.


Blissings, Dena

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