When you lose a loved one, it’s important to hold onto happy memories of that person. This honors the person’s life and your special connection. It can also help you move forward along your path toward healing. Beyond the initial ceremonies and rituals, there are some simple things you can do to creatively honor the memory of your loved one.
- Create a photo memory book. Going through old photos will stir up loving memories, and putting them into a special book lets you share those memories with others. It may even become a lasting keepsake that you can hand down to the next generation to keep your loved one’s legacy alive.
- Sew a pillow or quilt from your loved one’s clothing. A pillow made of your husband’s favorite shirt or a quilt made of your mother’s dresses will help you feel your loved one’s presence, even years down the road. If you’re not handy with a needle and thread, there are companies that provide this service.
- Build a memory box. You can start this at the funeral, asking attendees to bring a memento of their relationship with your loved one, or write down a story they’d like to share. Add your own trinkets, letters, cards and other treasures to create a lasting memorial.
- Plant a memory garden. Something about the renewal of the earth in springtime is inspirational and healing. When you plant a memory garden or tree in honor of your loved one, you’ll have a place to sit, enjoy nature and reflect.
- Commission a piece of art or jewelry.
- Light a candle on special days. You might place a candle next to a photo of your loved one and then light it on days that had special significance to the two of you. This can be a very meaningful ritual that helps you feel close to the person you loved.
- Give things away to people who will appreciate them. The act of giving things away can be cathartic, especially when you know they’re going to someone who will really use them. Some things, of course, can be donated to charity. However, for those truly special items, choose friends and family members you can bless with The gifts will be particularly meaningful to those who knew and loved the person who has died.
- Frame a letter or a recipe. Sometimes, the most meaningful thing you can have is something your loved one shared with you. Maybe it was an encouraging letter to you. Maybe it was a love letter from one of your grandparents to the other. Maybe it’s your aunt’s recipe for pound cake or your mother’s notes on a passage of scripture. It doesn’t need to be big and important. It just needs to be special to you.
One of the best places to begin honoring your loved one’s memory is at the funeral service. Incorporate meaningful items, music, readings and mementos to represent the hobbies, interests and passions that made your loved one’s life unique. You can also make the service special by adding touches such as a video tribute or a dove release.