What do you do for loved ones who have died?

(Photo: Unsplash/Hugues de BUYER-MIMEURE) (Photo: Unsplash/Hugues de BUYER-MIMEURE) 

America asked readers through our email newsletter and social media platforms what they do for their loved ones who have died. Seventy-eight percent of readers described how they memorialize loved ones with photos and other objects. “I remember the people I love with pictures,” wrote Sister Ginger Downey of Huntington, Ind. “[Pictures] of my grandmother are very important to me, and she has been gone almost 40 years. So when people ask, I say, ‘That is my Grandma’ and tell them a little bit about her.”

Rachel Guzman of St. Louis, Mo., explained that her use of objects and photos to remember her loved ones is informed by the Day of the Dead celebrations. “Dia de los Muertos...is a very important tradition for me,” said Ms. Guzman. “I create an altar and place pictures and favorite foods [on it] and decorate it with flowers and bright colors. I sit and pray for their souls and ask God to love them. I cry because they are gone, but I laugh because I remember the good times. I feel their presence with me. I close with a prayer to God and La Virgen de Guadalupe.”

Advertisement

Conversation was also a popular means of remembering those who have passed away; 67 percent said they talk to younger generations about people they have lost. “The best way for me to honor those who have passed away is by talking about the memories that I have shared with them,” said Marisa Carlucci of Edison, N.J. “But praying for those who have passed away has become more important to me as I’ve grown in my faith.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority of readers (85 percent) told America that they pray for those who have passed in addition to remembering them in other ways. “Sometimes remembering my dad is done with my sisters and mother. But other times it is a very solitary act,” wrote Lori Boccuzzi of North Wales, Pa. “Ultimately, my relationship with him was uniquely mine, and it feels good to reflect alone on his life and his legacy. I also stopped by his grave to say thank you for all the gifts he shared during his life.”

 

Results of our reader poll

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

Light streams into St. Gabriel’s Passionist Parish in Toronto. (Photo courtesy of Larkin Architect Limited)
The daily light show at St. Gabriel's in Toronto is not just aesthetically moving, writes Dean Dettloff. It is part of a church design that reminds us of human dependence on the earth.
Dean DettloffAugust 23, 2019
“The Church is a family of families,” Pope Francis writes in “Amoris Laetitia.”
Kerry WeberAugust 23, 2019
Our commitment to God is expressed through living out the gospel, but also in your fidelity to prayer. Day in and day out. “Showing up and shutting up,” as my friend likes to say about daily prayer.
James Martin, S.J.August 23, 2019
In this Aug. 20, 2019 drone photo released by the Corpo de Bombeiros de Mato Grosso, brush fires burn in Guaranta do Norte municipality, Mato Grosso state, Brazil. (Corpo de Bombeiros de Mato Grosso via AP)
A record number of wildfires and the rapid deforestation of the Amazon are prompting Latin American bishops to plead for international action, writes America’s correspondent in Brazil, Eduardo Campos Lima.
Eduardo Campos LimaAugust 23, 2019