Summer is supposed to be a time for sleeping in, daydreaming, and playing outside for hours on end. But the long days can also be a difficult reminder that your child is no longer around to share in the fun. Since you may already be feeling the loss more acutely now, why not take this opportunity to talk about it, journal about how you are feeling. Trying to find new ways to experience your summer?
Here are a few suggestions for discussions and activities that may help you as you work towards finding a new "normal" for your or your family’s summer time:
Think of your favorite vacation with your loved one. Sometimes it helps to share this with your family or friends. Just talking about it may bring back nice memories.
Look through old family photos, and find some favorites from summer months if you have them. If you want, tell stories about what was happening in each photo with your friends of family. Remember the memories through the stories you have to share.
Go to your local travel agent, and get a few brochures for local attractions that are within your budget, but that you have not been to before. This can include amusement parks, hiking trails, shopping malls, or local oddities (think “The biggest kalidescope!”) Spread the brochures out on your floor, and pick which one you would like to do. When you go, make it a point to think about things your loved one would have enjoyed about the trip.
If your are taking a vacation to a place that you used to go with your child, think about how you would like to celebrate your child’s memory while you are there. Do you vacation at a cabin in the woods? Take a nature walk and pick out things that remind you of your child. Is your favorite vacation spot at a lake or beach? You can write your child’s name in the sand and decorate
it with rocks or shells. If you vacation in a particular city or town, you can all enjoy a meal at your child's favorite pizza place. You may even want to try to do something different each day – it’s totally up to you.
Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to handle summer and vacations after the death of your child. You may choose to do the usual family vacation, or you may want to steer towards something entirely new. Going on vacation can be a new way to celebrate your child's memory. You may be surprised at the wonderful new traditions you can start.