What do you do for loved ones who have died?
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.”
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.”