A couple weeks after Cis died I was talking to Sophie and happened to say in the conversation "the night Cicily passed away". Sophie looked at me with her perturbed/serious look and said, "you can just say died Mom. Cicily's not past. She just died is all." I had to agree with Sophie's logic. Cicily dying is something we've known would happen and something we've always been very open about in our family. To Sophie dying is just another part of life. A new chapter. It's doesn't mean someone is "past" or "away" so to speak, it just means they're in another life where unfortunately we don't get to hang out. So while it may not sound as polite or graceful to say "died", in our family that's what we say.
A friend of ours left this on my FB wall. I thought it perfectly captures our family's feelings. It's by Henry Scott Holland .
We love talking about Cicily and love it when friends talk with us about her. Especially when it's easy, with "no forced air of solemnity or sorrow". It was a difficult task when she had recently died. We had to have a family discussion about the more we talk about Cicily in every day conversation, the more normal it will feel.
So while we all miss her a ridiculous amount, and I in particular cry daily about it, we still like to talk about her and think about her as we always have.