You probably want to remember all – and only – the good times with your spouse. You surely have some cherished memories of loving conversations, happy, relaxing holidays, funny incidents, generous actions, and peaceful moments. One way to capture those memories is to write them down. Then, later on, when the memories are not so vivid, you can read what you wrote and treasure the good times again.

In the first year of my grief, I wrote down many good memories of my husband. Reading them gives me a chance not to pine for the past but to give thanks for what we shared. I also wrote down not-so good memories that I hoped I could forget. Most of those began with differing perspectives and ended with in angry words or deafening silences. Trying to block out those memories only brought them to mind over and over again. For me the way to release them was to recall them, forgive myself and my spouse, and offer our very human love into the hands of God, whose mercy can heal our wounds and reconcile us even after death.

Enter into silent reflection. Close your eyes and open your heart to God. If memories come, don’t hold on to them. Just let them pass by like sailboats on a lake. Allow feelings to come and go without blocking or judging them. When you are ready, you may conclude with:

Merciful God, you know everything about (my spouse) and me. You know our virtues and our faults. You know our struggles and our joys. I give you thanks for the life we shared. Allow me to continue to treasure the good memories while opening myself to your will for me now. Help me to forgive myself and (my spouse) for the hurtful times. Heal our wounds and lead both of us forward in your love. I pray this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

For with the Lord is mercy, with the Lord is plenteous redemption. – Psalm 130: 7b