Remembering Grandfather Bill

When I think of the people who have helped me become the man I am today, I credit my grandfather for teaching me to have a sense of pride in myself, my community and everything I do. He showed me, by example, to always do the right thing; to see the bigger picture and to never be afraid to stand up for the things I believe in. He was my mentor, my role model, my friend.

Late January 2006 marked the one year anniversary of the passing of my grandfather, William E. “Bill” Allen.

I felt it was important to mark the occasion by celebrating his life and legacy in my own personal way. While anniversaries can bring a renewed sense of grief, the anniversary of a loved one’s death in particular is truly a time to reflect upon the gifts they have given us and to celebrate the impact they have had on our lives.

Like I have said many times before, the grieving process is unique and personal to each individual. Throughout my career, many have shared with me the special ways they honor the memories of those they love. So, on the anniversary of grandfather’s passing, it seemed appropriate to share ideas that have worked for others, too:

  • Plan to spend anniversary dates with a friend or family member and do something special to comfort yourself. Make a donation to a charity in your loved one’s name.
  • Create a memory box full of tokens, memorabilia and photographs of those you have lost.
  • Light a candle in remembrance of your loved one on his or her anniversary. Throughout the day/evening it will serve as a reminder.
  • Make your loved one’s favorite dessert and possibly share it with friends or family.
  • Take a trip to the beach, or go hiking. Choose an activity you enjoy and possibly include friends and family.
  • Share photo albums with others. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words because photos tend to spark memories for many. One of the best ways to celebrate a life is to keep it alive through sharing those memories.
  • At dinner, make a toast to the person who has died and invite others to join you.

Most always, I am the one sitting behind the desk guiding families through planning funerals. Like many, the anniversary of my grandfather’s passing was a time to remember. I hope that the ideas I’ve shared will help you find some comfort and direction at a difficult time. They certainly have for me.