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How to Remember a Loved One

Remembering a loved one is a profoundly personal experience, and there are many ways you can celebrate all the different things they meant to you. From more personal tributes to gathering with friends and family, in-person to online, everlasting to eco-friendly, the list is endless.

If you need some inspiration, the following list of ways to remember a loved one should help.

1. Hold a very personal memorial service

Holding a personal memorial service is a familiar way of saying goodbye. Placing the focus on their life rather than their death can be a very uplifting experience. It’s also something you can repeat every year.

2. Get a piece of jewellery in their memory

You can choose from a wide range of memorial jewellery options. Fingerprint and cremation jewellery are just a couple of examples - Queen Victoria wore a brooch containing a lock of her husband’s hair, and you could do the same in a locket or similar piece of jewellery.

If you don’t have a lock of hair, other commemorative options include tiny brooches made to hold cremated ashes. Similarly, you can choose resin or glass jewellery to create a ‘gemstone’ that includes some of their ashes.

3. Plant a tree or flowers to remember a loved one

You can plant a tree or flowers to create a living memorial. This idea is especially sentimental if your loved one was passionate about the environment or gardening.

Trees play a vital role in maintaining a healthy, self-sufficient ecosystem, providing nutrients for the earth and shelter for small animals. As the tree grows, you’ll be able to visit it and watch it mature.

However, plants have different meanings and you might want to explore this aspect too.

4. Light up a candle or the whole sky

Lighting a candle is a very traditional way to remember a loved one, but why not take it one step further and light up the whole sky with a firework display. A memorial fireworks display is a lovely way to remember someone special.

Gather friends and family together, play your loved one’s favourite music, add in some toasty hot drinks, and you’ll create a unique and cosy celebration of life.

Asking friends and family around the world to light a candle at a particular time is a lovely way to ‘connect’ each other in remembrance.

5. Write a poem or a song in their honour

Immortalise your loved one by writing a song, poem, or short story. They could be the main character or inspiration for your words. Have your words printed and framed, or publish what you’ve written and make copies available for family and friends to purchase. Any proceeds could be donated to your loved one’s favourite charity.

6. Choose the best lasting memorial

People often choose to get something dedicated to the person as a way of honouring their memory. A park bench is the most traditional, but there are lots of alternatives. For example:

  • If they were a lover of the performing arts, dedicate concert hall, theatre, or opera seats
  • If they were a football fan, football ground seats or engraved paving stones are a great way to remember them
  • Remember music lovers by calling your local radio station and dedicating their favourite song to them on their birthday
  • Name a rose in memory of someone special and give cuttings to family and friends

7. Make a photo album

Get out that old box of photographs and create a photo album when you’ve got a quiet moment. Take time and decorate the pages, add meaningful words, and record special moments. It might even become an heirloom that will be important to everyone in the family and something you can share.

A photo book is a modern alternative and allows you to create keepsakes that can be given out to other family members.

8. Have a tattoo designed in their memory

Some people choose tattoos to remember a loved one who has passed away. It’s a great way of honouring someone you’ve lost and keeping them close with you forever. A memorial tattoo should reflect the personality and interests of the person you’re memorialising and something you’ll be proud to wear on your skin.

9. Send gifts to remember your loved one

A way of helping others remember your loved one is to send memorial gifts on key dates such as their birthday or Christmas.

10. Make a special toast on the next family gathering

Organise a family gathering and raise a toast for them.

11. Mark the anniversary of their death

Find something that helps you feel close to them and do it each year on their death anniversary. Perhaps you could take a trip to a place that meant something to you both or take the day off and make all their favourite foods.

12. Support a worthy cause

You can make a difference by championing a cause. Think about whether your loved one had a cause that was important to them. They may have been passionate about abandoned or stray animals.

Organise an event to raise money for your chosen cause or participate in an existing event. You might be able to encourage friends and family to take part and make an even bigger impact.

13. Visit favourite places

You may have a host of memories of your loved one in different places, from your local theatre to the park where you first met. Wherever it is, they all mean something to you. But, without your loved one, visiting these places might feel different so don’t be hard on yourself if you’d prefer to avoid them.

As time passes, consider revisiting these places, reliving memories, and making new ones. This is a great way to work through your grief.

14. Cook their favourite dishes

Memories associated with our sense of smell are very powerful. Use this fact to your advantage by cooking your loved one’s favourite dishes. Did they have a special recipe that was everyone’s favourite, such as a roast dinner or apple pie? Remember your loved one by cooking their favourite dish.

15. Build something in their honour

Even if you’re not that handy, taking on a project like this could be a great way to honour someone you love. It could be something as simple as a birdhouse or even just a rock garden.

16. Keep a chair for them at dinner

A respectful commemoration of the loss of a loved one might be to give them a “seat” at special gatherings and events for some time after their death. Setting a place for them at the table in their memory can be a reminder of their lasting presence in your home and your life.

17. Create and share a beautiful online memorial

An online memorial is a special place online where you can remember a loved one. It allows everyone to preserve and share their favourite memories whenever and wherever they are.