Whether you get along with your family or not, you wouldn’t be here without them– and the people before them, and the people before them, and so on all the way back to the first people where were (who still have living descendants, anyway). Many cultures, even modern cultures that are usually considered reasonable and rational, have celebrations to celebrate and remember those who came before.
As Pagans, we’ve got Samhain, but there’s no reason why the Ancestors should be confined only to one day at the end of the Harvest Season. There are all sorts of ways to remember them.
– Build an Ancestor Altar: place a shelf or a cabinet or a table on a northern wall of the house (or wherever your trad tells you death and darkness and the afterlife come from), lay a nice festive cloth on it, and cover it in pictures and artifacts of the people you’ve loved who have gone the way of all things. Give them little offerings like fresh flowers on birthdays, deathdays and holidays, or small plates with samplings of the food you’re eating during special occasions they would have liked to have been part of. If you’re in need of advice they would have provided in life, feel free to visit them the way you’d visit a grave. Keeping their pictures and their place in the family alive means they aren’t entirely gone, and the family can still benefit from their presence.
– Take up genealogy: Beyond the people you actually knew are the people they came from, and their histories and their cultures. Know where you’re from, and it makes it easier to know who you are and where you’re going, which is something we sort of lack in these scattered-family set-ups we have in this country. Even better yet, knowing where your ancestors were from and what they were like can help you find ancestral spiritual practices that you might never have thought to look into– or that made no sense to have been calling to you until you found out that your family was originally from where they were.
– Tell their stories: Kids only grow up knowing what you tell them, and if you want them to know of their predecessors, you’ve got to share their stories. There’s an African tribal idea that people die three times: Once when the body dies, once when the people who knew them first hand are all dead, and the last time when their stories die and no one even remembers they existed at all. Avoid your ancestors’ Final Death by keeping their stories alive.