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Memorial Day Thoughts

Excellent Time to Talk About Death and Dying


Photo Credit: ©Sheri Stritof

Harlan, Iowa

Photo Credit: ©Sheri Stritof
Culturally, Americans seem to spend a lot of energy denying death. So do a lot of couples.

The refusal to talk about death and dying is not healthy for your marriage relationship.

Don't Wait

Death needs to be talked about. Memorial Day is an excellent time to begin this conversation if you haven't already communicated your thoughts and feelings about death with each other.

You don't have to wait until Memorial Day to visit the dead. An outing in a cemetery can be a pleasant, emotionally satisfying, educational, and healing experience.

Walking through an old cemetery in New England, and again in San Francisco, I felt a very deep connection to the sisterhood of women who had lost babies. There were so many little graves, with special words inscribed on their markers. I knew I wasn't alone.

Talk About Death and Celebrate "Now" in Your Lives

There are a lot of resources to help you deal with a loss -- whether it be the death of a spouse, of a child, of a parent, or of a dream. Loss isn't easy.

However, talking about death helps you appreciate life. These discussions can challenge you to celebrate "now".

Memorial Day Activities:

  • Visit a cemetery together. You don't have to know anyone there. Just go. Cemeteries are not creepy, spooky places. They are very beautiful, quiet, peaceful serene locales with beautiful trees, flowers, birds, and sometimes little critters like bunnies hopping about.
  • Check out the gravestones. Lovely, memorable thoughts are inscribed on many grave markers. These are small biographies, stories of a life lived, of a person who was loved and valued.
  • If you find a headstone that particularly tugs at your heartstrings, that would be a gentle reminder to love one another a little more completely.
  • Some couples find that taking a rubbing from a grave marker can be a subtle reminder to one another of their value to each other.
  • To take a rubbing to frame and hang in your home, tape a piece of paper over the meaningful message and rub a crayon against the gravestone. The design will appear on your paper.
  • Plant a tree or a rose.
  • Sow some wildflowers.
  • Visit a nursing home.
  • Look at old family pictures or videotapes. Share funny stories and memories of someone who has died. Celebrate the gift they were to you.

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