We have a few rituals to honor Kade. I didn’t necessarily set out to create rituals, but some activities we’ve done have stuck.
Kade died on June 29th, 2012. When the 29th of the next month approached, I didn’t know how I would get through that day. I decided to invite his friends over. I did the same the next month, and months after that. It was comforting to be surrounded by his young friends, and help each other get through.
When the first year anniversary of his death approached, I knew it was right for me at that time to be with family and friends. Our whitewater rafting day down Brown’s Canyon, with Kade’s rafting company, his fellow guides, and his friends from Denver, was exactly the right thing for me. And it has been, for three more years. I can’t imagine that it won’t ever be right, but am open to if and when I feel that I want to do something different.
I like to give gifts for those who come rafting. The first year I had purple silicone wristbands made that said, “Kade * loved * missed.” The next year I had bandannas made with his signature and image. Then we had t-shirts made, and this past year, more wristband that read, “Journey never ends, river bends.”
For Kade’s birthday each year we’ve had a pizza party. After pizza we’ve released sky lanterns. We couldn’t the last two times, because two years ago it was too windy and last year we had it during the daytime.
I’ve arranged volunteering around his birthdays. We’ve done the library and animal shelter. I feel a drive to put some of the good into the world that Kade would have.
When we go to MI to visit family, we write messages on and release sky lanterns for Kade and my Grandpa Albert.
When I go on a hike or to the beach I like to write Kade’s name in sticks and rocks, or in the sand.
Rituals can be so healing. I love that I don’t have to decide what to do on big days like the anniversary or his birthday. For now, what we’re doing is working.
I hope that we find more healing rituals that speak to us in the years to come.