How celebrating deceased loved ones can make you happier

Story highlights

  • Writer Allison Gilbert struggled with how to celebrate and grieve lost loved ones
  • "Passed and Present" offers ideas and projects to keep memories alive

Allison Gilbert is an award-winning journalist and author of "Parentless Parents." The Memory Bash book tour for her book, "Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Alive" launched this month.

(CNN)After several family members died in rapid succession, including my parents, I struggled with knowing how to keep their memories alive.

In the days and weeks immediately following their deaths, I never had to look far to tell a story or hear one. But all too soon, I hesitated to bring them up in conversation. Anecdotes I told my children seemed heavy or forced, and I didn't want to make my friends uncomfortable.
    Allison Gilbert
    I also had so many questions that most of my well-meaning friends couldn't answer.
      What should I do with all their belongings -- the random collections of loose papers, official documents, silverware, dishes, gardening tools, photo albums, VHS tapes, film reels and 35 mm slides? What should I keep? Where do I even start? In some respects, because techniques for celebrating loved ones are seldom discussed, I felt lonelier at