Feeling the void left by a deceased loved one is normal, and is a testament to how much that person meant to us. Allowing yourself to go through the normal progression of grief and mourning following a loss, can be healing and restorative. Even after we come to accept the loss and get back into the details of our own life, however, we can still experience strong longings from time to time. Carrying on the positive aspects of your beloved’s work or his/her personality can be one way to establish a loving and lasting tribute to how much your dear one meant to you.
Bertoldo di Giovanni was a pupil of Renaissance sculptor Donatello (1386 –1466), one of the most influential artists of the 15th century. Donatello was revered and respected by the wealthy art patrons of his time, for his exquisite artistry as well as his free spirit of independence. His sculptures were not attempts to imitate other master works. He painstakingly paid attention to the kind of detail that made human faces come alive with emotion, and bodies seem as if they were moving along side of you. He worked in an impressive wide variety of mediums that included stucco, wax, bronze, clay marble, glass and wood. Donatello considered himself to be a humble craftsman, yet he was a perfectionist who did what he felt was right, without regard to what the elite thought he should do. When Donatello died, the art world felt a tremendous void. His uniqueness made him unforgettable. His student Bertoldo di Giovanni, then lovingly completed Donatello’s unfinished work.
By incorporating certain aspects of your loved one’s life example into the reality of your day to day existence, you are allowing their spirit to continue through your thoughts and actions.
If your loved one had a favorite meal, for instance, you can invite some close family members to enjoy that meal with you as you all reminisce about that person together. If the person was a writer, for example, you can re-read the materials he/she wrote and reflect on the meaning of their words. Perhaps you can finish unfinished manuscripts. If your loved one made social connections easily, try making a special effort to get out and give people a smile, making their day the way your beloved did in life. If your loved one was a great dresser you can take his/her lead by paying more attention to what you choose to wear, thinking of that person each time you pull something from your closet.
As a caveat please note that while missing a deceased loved one is normal, prolonged grief that interferes with your ability to enjoy your life needs to be addressed by professional intervention. No matter what your spiritual beliefs are regarding an afterlife, you can make the life you currently lead richer and more meaningful by discovering tangible ways to keep the positive aspects of your loved one alive.
God Bless you as you continue on your journey of a rich, vibrant life of love.