Well-Being//

How Your Home Can Help You Heal

Help the grieving process and keep beautiful memories alive with these thoughtful tributes.

Zeterre Landscape Architecture, original photo on Houzz

Grieving the loss of a loved one can be a lengthy process, and it’s different for everyone, even when the cause of the grief is the same. After a death, a house that previously offered many comforts can create complex sorrows, because the home has been forever changed.

But the home also offers a place for taking care of those who remain, emotionally, spiritually and physically — which can also be a way to pay tribute to loved ones, says Denise Badaruddin, a clinical psychologist in Pasadena, California. During the hard work of self-care, it is important to have an outlet for grief. One outlet may be to establish a way of remembering the loved one in the home.

Simple design gestures can help you find a peaceful new existence while keeping memories alive. I have encountered this many times in my design firm, as well as with my own family.

I hope these ideas, most of them from actual client projects, are helpful to anyone experiencing this difficult part of life.

1. Plant a tree in honor of a life. You may have heard of planting a tree in celebration of a birth. I think the same logic applies for a death. The tree symbolizes not the fact that your loved one has died, but that he or she lived.

Related: See How a Gardener Found Peace and Purpose in a Patch of Florida Soil

I suggest a flowering tree. When the tree blossoms every year, the branches can be brought into the house, symbolizing the celebration of that life.

Related: 20 Perennials to Plant for Vibrant Fall Flowers

Design Manifest, original photo on Houzz

2. Find a corner for books that belonged to your loved one. Books are interesting, because together they create an indirect story line about the interests of a person. Honor the life interests of your loved one by displaying their books for others to enjoy and remember.

3. Display a portrait of your loved one. There are many portrait artists who specialize in work honoring a deceased relative; they work from pictures to produce beautiful likenesses.

Sweet as a Candy, original photo on Houzz

4. Display old photos of your loved one in a creative way. I think it’s nice to display pictures versus keeping them tucked away in a photo album.

Feel free to incorporate unique picture display ideas into your everyday spaces. Friends and family members can be hesitant to discuss the deceased loved one, but pictures and dialogue can be very comforting to those who are grieving.

5. Display specific moments of your loved one’s life, like a graduation, birthday or wedding. Life’s great moments are often defining and can illustrate a beautiful biography of your loved one.

Marie Burgos Design, original photo on Houzz

6. Display a memento from your loved one’s hometown. A hometown has special significance for each of us. Often people identify heavily with where they were born or grew up.

Related: Display Momentos, Photos and More in a China Cabinet

7. Honor a special collection or hobby in a small way. There are two ways to deal with collections. Depending on how you feel, one option is to give the collection to someone who has a similar interest and can continue the hobby. The second is to display a portion of the collection while saving the remainder for another family member.

Ninainvorm, original photo on Houzz

8. Ask children to draw pictures of their favorite moments with their loved one, if they have been affected by the death. When we suddenly lost my father-in-law due to a heart attack, I asked my children to draw pictures of their favorite “Grandpa moments.” Select a wall and display these cherished pictures in a collage.

9. Frame a cherished garment that belonged to your loved one. Garments and textiles can be framed by professional framers in many ways.

Anthony Baratta LLC, original photo on Houzz

10. Capture a view. I had a client who lost both of her parents fairly close together. Her husband hired a photographer to take a picture of the view from her parents’ living room. They had lived in their Los Angeles home for 40 years and loved the view. My client is going to hang the large panorama in her home office so she can always have that view — and her parents — with her.

Original article written by Charmean Neithart on Houzz

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