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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, folks.

I'm pondering something for next year. As much as I obsessively love the holiday and find people who don't somewhat incomprehensible (when I'm not utterly oblivious to them), even I can see that this has potential to be a sensitive topic. I'm not certain how appropriate people who are not me would find it, so I thought I might get some opinions. Apologies if anyone finds it too uncomfortable.

My ability to make this less of a downer is severely crippled at the moment, so I'll just give the short version of the situation: My younger brother passed away from cancer earlier this week. We all knew this was coming, just not so soon (obviously we would have liked to have him with us at least through the end of the year holidays). So if I seem to be considering this prematurely, it's partly because I've had months to get as used to the idea as one can. It's also partly because my instincts are to try to restore normality as much as I can.

Now, in the wake of such loss so close to a celebration of the trappings of death, a lot of people might lose their taste for the holiday, or at least develop an aversion to thinking about the juxtaposition, but I don't really see it that way. I'm more inclined to let my love of the holiday and my love of my brother come together. After all, we all know this holiday wasn't created solely to celebrate childlike spooky silliness or a obsessive love of horror media, it is derived from much older veneration traditions as serious and meaningful in their way as (for example) American funerals. And of course there are similar holidays like the Day of the Dead, the Ghost Festival, etc.

While I'm not particularly religious and thus can't claim the same beliefs, I certainly understand the idea of a memorial. In that vein, what I am considering is making a tombstone specifically for my brother for my cemetery. The idea I'm going for is something that serves (for me) only a distant second as prop or decor; and more fulfills that memorial function of a real tombstone. Putting it out, placing candles and so forth would become sort of my own personal annual tradition. (He will have a genuine stone at the grave, of course, but that will not be local.) Obviously, I would want it to be done in a touching way rather than something tacky. It's likely to be set somewhat apart from anything overt that I might set out (skeletons, reapers, etc). Even possibly away from the "public" decorations, like in the back yard.

I suppose the main problem would be to make sure our family and friends understand what I'm trying to do ahead of time so that nobody is surprised or bothered by it. Obviously I'm not going to bring up the topic with them while the loss is so raw, so that will be a long while from now. In the meantime, I thought I might see what people here thought first.
 

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I think it's a lovely idea, but I can understand the potential difficulty in setting it apart from anything cheesy or spooky. If the public could see it, of course you'd want them to know *immediately* that it was something real. It might be easier on family if, like you suggested, you kept it away from the public area for the first year, and talked ahead with family about various world traditions honoring dead loved ones at that time of year. Tell them what you told us.
Another year, when it's less fresh, it might actually be nice to bring it out front and surround the marker with things that represent your brother to you. (Or it would be fine right away if your family understands.) It might give you a chance to eulogize him, honor him, and share stories with people. (A lot of Czech graves have little glass display cases with photos and mementos of the individuals' lives. I thought that was immensely cool!)

Since you asked for opinions, I'd suggest waiting a few months before discussing the idea with other family members. Maybe in summer time would be good-- when it's slightly less fresh but not yet near the anniversary date. Let them understand it's a way to honor your brother and keep his memory before you.
 

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Rutherford Manor Haunt
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Dyne, firstly let me tell you how sorry I am for your loss, I sincerely wish you and your family peace and healing during this difficult time.

Last year I lost a good friend of 20+ years to brain cancer, she passed away on October 5, 2013. A few days afterwards I began working on her tombstone to commemorate her beautiful spirit, a life that brought me and many others so much joy. When I put her stone out this year I smiled, I thought of her so often throughout the season, a lot of wonderful, happy memories. It is a quiet, personal ritual that honors her presence in my life. Her stone is very subtle and no one would know it really is a memorial stone. My advice take your time, work on it in private over the coming months, enjoy the cathartic, quiet moments you will have working on the piece. Next season when things are not so raw maybe you can share your monument and its personal significance with your family. The grieving process for each individual is a very personal journey, this artistic expression may be part of your healing journey.
 

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Prop Master
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I think with the way you are talking about doing it, keeping it separated from all the Halloween stuff and just doing a more or less private memorial for him is very tastefull. It shows that you are are celebrating the memory of your brother on your favorite day of the year. although i agree with ooojen, you might want to wait until summer to tell your family about it.
 

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The Big Kahuna of Fright
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For sure, something understated, to keep his memory alive, completely acceptable.

My son and his wife lost a dear friend in Afghanistan close to eight years ago. They have a Teddy Bear wearing a black tee shirt with the number 82 on the chest that they include at all barbecues and get togethers, and I believe the bear was with them in Cancun last week for a wedding! Their friend, Terry, was the 82nd Canadian casualty in the War on Terror. He was only 24, taken way, way too young. That's how they keep his memory alive.
 

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As some of there others have said, sorry for your loss and your family is in my prayers and thoughts.

I honestly think its not such a bad idea, but the timing may be a concern. If your brother were as big into H-ween as you are, it would just make sense that you would incorporate something for/about him in your display. If he wasn't than I would reconsider. Like I said however timing to clear it with your parents, his wife or significant other, kids is paramount.

I would start with those whom you are pretty sure you'll get the OK from then go from there. If you ask mom and dad and they are OK with it, you can go to whomever else and let them know you have "mom and dads blessing" so to speak, and wanted to make sure their OK with it as well.

I would say to be prepared for a bit of resistance. If you encounter any, I would call the whole thing off. Better you keep calm and peace in the family and keep your brothers memory alive in a positive way rather than make it a subject of discourse in the family.

I also agree with Trex about it being cathartic. If it came up, you could tell those of concern that it is helping you to do this. Therapeutic in its creation and a lot cheaper than any head shrinker.

I think I would also make it very tasteful and/or humorous. Something your brother would approve of and enjoy himself. Something visitors will be able to look at and say, "Yup, that sounds like something he would say"

Good luck in your approach and let's us know what the final consensus is. I would like to know. Marc V.
 

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So sorry for your loss.
Was your brother a fan of Halloween?
You are right, query the family to see how they feel about it. But if they understand the pleasure you derive from Halloween and the sincerity of the memorial, I'd be hard pressed to find something to object to.
I can understand tying a memorial in to something that you are creatively involved in. I was working on an illustration assignment when my dad unexpectedly passed away. Underneath my signature I put in a small line of text dedicating the piece to my father as a memorial. Thankfully the client never objected so the memorial stayed in the published piece.

Ravenworks (above) makes some good points.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for your thoughts, everyone. I definitely don't intend to bring it up anytime soon. I can't even start such a project until after the New Year, so there's no rush.

Was your brother a fan of Halloween?
As an adult, he never mentioned it if he was.

Then again, I never mentioned or showed it much myself up until the last few years, even though I'm more than a decade older and it's been my favorite holiday more or less as long as I've been an adult. I simply hadn't had much opportunity until recently to do much for it, so the subject never really came up. And I only discovered this summer that my stepmother also loves Halloween, even though she's been married to my father for more than half my life at this point. I only learned it because I was talking to my father about my reaper build this year, showing the tricopter ghost video, etc.
 

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Human Candy Shovel
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By all means, build a tombstone memorial to your brother and put in your display with everything else. There is no cardinal rule that requires any Halloween tombstone display to be a humorous play on words, epitaph for a dead horror writer, or tribute to a fictional character. Plenty of us put out tombstones we made to honor dead relatives, friends, and pets.
 

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So sorry for your loss Dyne, I wish nothing but peace for you and your family. I love the idea of doing something like this for your brother, I think it might even help to be able to look back each October and think of him.
 

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jester girl
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I think everyone here has given very tasteful answers. I have a couple of relatives that passed away I thought about doing a tribute to. I thought my daughter and grandson might be bothered by it. when I did casually mention it, they seemed like it was just run of the mill. I said it would be kind of set apart, and they acted like that was how it should be. so I say, maybe at least 6 months, and then say you built a tribute to the one you love.
 

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So sorry for your loss.

Ya know with things of this nature, ya just never know how people are going to react. But I think you should do what you want.

I had an Aunt that had very strong opinions about things. One day she called me up (I lived in another state) and she said>>>>>I having all the bodies of the family exhumed cause I bought crypts....do you call that that? in a large mausoleum building. The reason i'm calling you is to find out if you want the tombstone from your parents graves with the Collins name on it for your Halloween cemetery.

Oh Boy!
 

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My condolences regarding the loss of your brother, Dyne. Personally, I feel that the decision to include a memorial in your haunt setup (or a little off-site) honoring him would be commendable. That said, I have been accused of being morbid, so I really do not know the tolerance of most 'normal' people regarding such matters, not that their opinions should sway you and alter your plans. I would hope that your family and friends would be respectful, as we all process and handle events differently.
 

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Everyone seems to have given you all of the most-right answer(s).
When it comes to grieving there can be many acceptable methods. A cousin of mine had his Wife die very suddenly at a young age. He asked if he could personally dig her grave, with a shovel, which he was permitted to do.
When bad or sad energy can be focused upon something needed and productive I think the act diminishes the confusion and mental anguish.
 

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Maybe you could look at it another way. Think about what someone from a country that celebrates Day of The Dead would think if you WEREN"T honoring your loved ones in some way! Maybe they would find that odd that we don't.

So many people all over the world spend Halloween honoring people. If you feel good about this idea - do it. I'm sure many won't even notice the names.
 

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How one grieves and honors loved ones is a very individual process--I think you should do whatever feels right to you and not worry about what others think of your choices. You can of course be considerate of others--but you still need to do what helps you. People do all sorts of things to memorialize others that I would never dream of doing--but if it helps them deal with their grief--then that is the right choice for them--no one else gets to make that choice for them.

I hope whatever you choose to do brings you comfort and many wonderful memories of your loved one!
 
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