My Grief Care

Misconceptions About Grief

12 Episodes

Episode 12 : I Don’t Want to Forget My Loved One Who Died


Episode Notes

I Don't Want to Forget My Loved One Who Died

Sometimes grievers can feel their pain is a tribute to their loved one and if they were ever to feel better or start living forward, that would mean they are forgetting them. Nothing could be further from the truth.

After much pain and heartache, there comes a time when you will feel better and get through your grief and be ready to live forward. Choosing to live forward does not mean you are forgetting your loved one.

Living forward” means you’ve accepted the reality of your loved one’s death, and you are integrating the loss into your life. You are weaving together life before and after the loss. That is not the same as forgetting the person. And this will not come until you have had a time of mourning and hurting.  There is no way around that.  

So, if you have recently lost someone or are still in the “just trying to get by and it hurts so much mode,” I am not at all suggesting that you think about “living forward” right now.

When I work with clients ready to enter the healing process, I tell them that recovery is not about forgetting their loved ones but remembering them well. Finding ways to honor them while living forward allows you to keep your loved one’s memory as a part of you. You can look toward the future, realizing that the person who died will never be forgotten, and knowing that your life can, and will, move forward, and they can be honored in that process.

My husband is still a big part of my life.  Now and then, I will talk to him – especially when I think he would be laughing at something I am doing. Or I may have to make a decision and think about what Mark would do and try to use that as my guide – because he was a  wise man. I have things to remind me about him around the house.

Ron buried his wife’s ashes in the front yard and picked out a special tree to plant in the spot, and he calls it “the DeeAnn tree.”  Ron talks in another episode about how he writes a yearly letter to DeeAnn.

I like to remember Mark’s birthday and go to his favorite restaurant with my son.  Ron remembers his mother, who recently died, by having all her favorite food on her birthday – a BLT sandwich, fries, and chocolate ice cream. Does this sound like forgetting?

My husband is still part of my life – and he is part of me and who I am.  And your loved one can still be part of you too. 

I promise you – you cannot forget someone you love.  The good news is that when you do experience healing, the fond memories that used to cause you pain can make you smile.  How good does that sound?  I love it when a client tells me, “I had my first happy memory. I remembered something and smiled.”

We have lots of suggestions on remembering your loved one in another episode and have included an idea sheet as a download on this page.

Another unhelpful belief that goes along with this one, and I have mentioned it before,  is “If I am happy or have a happy moment, it means that I am not hurting, or I am forgetting my loved one or dishonoring them.” What incredible pressure to put on yourself! Our loved ones would want nothing more than our happiness, and just because we have moments where we aren’t crushed with sadness, it doesn’t mean we don’t miss or love them any less. To then feel guilty because that makes healing even harder. Don’t think about your pain or unhappiness as a tribute to them.

TRUTH: Living forward happens after we have gone through the grief and begin healing. Healing is all about removing the pain of the loss while remembering the happy memories of your loved one and bringing them forward with you.


  1. Are you hesitant to move or take steps to experience healthy grieving because you fear feeling better or that living forward means you are forgetting your loved one or dishonoring them? (Remember, I am not talking to people who have suffered a recent loss or who are still in the really tough part of the grief journey.)
  2. What would your loved one genuinely want for you? 
  3. What are some ways you could remember and honor your loved one? 


You can never forget someone you loved.