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Ideas for Memorials and Tributes to Our Lost Loved Ones

Cindy has been a writer for a number of years. She enjoys sharing her life experiences and what they have taught her.

Tribute to Loved Ones Lost

I know from my own personal experiences of death, (including losing my first Husband to bowel cancer even though he was only aged 48 at the time), that we all need to find ways to still feel close to the people we have lost. This isn't always easy, and the grieving friends and relatives left behind are always looking for new and unique ways to celebrate their loved one's life and ensure that they are never forgotten by the people who miss them so badly.

More and more people are requesting they are cremated after they die and that their ashes be scattered in their favourite places, as opposed to being kept all in one location. I totally understand this and intend to have the same thing happen to my body once I pass on. This does leave the loved ones (family and friends), left behind with a problem though, and that is how to best remember their lost loved one. There will be no actual grave for them to visit, and therefore they will be looking for a way to pay tribute to the deceased person or create a memorial to them.

Here are some suggestions where we can honour their memory and still feel close to them:

  • Places to visit and remember
  • Things you can do

Places to Visit and Remember

Having somewhere to go and remember a lost loved one is important to many bereaved family and friends. If the deceased person chose to have their ashes scattered (depending on where they were scattered), it may not always be easy for the surviving relatives to visit the location whenever they wish to feel close to them. In this situation, it is a nice idea to create a special place that you can visit whenever you feel the need to. Some ideas you might want to try include:

  • Plant a tree in their memory, either in your garden or in a public place where you will be able to visit it whenever you wish to (you can even have a plaque attached to the tree dedicating it to the individual along with a few well-chosen sentiments). This doesn't have to be a tree though, you might also consider planting a standard rose bush (this is probably better in a garden where you can care for it). If you wanted you could even hold back a small portion of the loved one's ashes and bury them in the planting hole so that the ashes become part of the tree as it grows, bringing new life from the old.
  • Have a memorial garden bench or seat made with a plaque dedicating it to the deceased person attached to it. This bench can be placed either in your garden or in a public place they loved e.g. a place they walked, a public park etc (assuming you obtain the relevant permission from local authorities). You will be able to visit the bench whenever you wish to, sit and reflect on happy memories of when your lost loved one was still alive.
  • If you have a patio in your garden you might consider having a special paving slab engraved and laid within the existing patio. You could even have a photo sealed within it so you can go out into the garden and spend time with your loved one whenever you need to.
  • A garden statue dedicated to the person is also an option and will be there for many years to come. If you move house you can always take it with you and relocate it in your new garden (again you could have a plaque attached to the plinth dedicating the statue 'in memory of....').
  • Why not create a memorial garden and fill it with all their favourite flowers and plants. If for example, they loved scented flowers, then make it a scented garden. If they loved roses, then make it a rose garden.

Things You Can Do

Even if you don't have the ashes, there are still things you can do that allow you to feel close to your family member or friend.

  • Memorial tattoos are a popular way to never forget our lost loved ones and keep them close to us. You can even ask for some of their ashes to be mixed in with the tattoo ink. Whether you have a photo of them tattooed on to you somewhere, or simply something you associate with them such as a flower, a butterfly etc, this is an excellent way to show the level of love you held for them.
  • Having a small portion of their ashes converted into jewellery or even diamonds is another idea that I cover in more detail in my other article. This way you can wear the jewellery and keep your loved one close to you at all times.
  • In much the same way as people do for their children who are still alive, why not wear an old fashioned locket with a piece of their hair in it or a photo, or both. When you feel 'down' you can hold the locket, or open it and know they are always close to your heart.
  • Write a poem as a tribute to the deceased family member or friend. Once you are happy with it you can get it written up beautifully by a calligrapher and then get it framed and hung on a wall within your home.
  • Make a memorial DVD by going to all their favourite places and getting them on film. You could ask all of their friends and family to make a short speech about their memories of the person, what they loved about them most and why they will miss them so much, funny stories they remember about them etc. This DVD can be copied multiple times and copies given to each of those grieving for the deceased.
  • There are now many online Memorial Websites where you can post photos, videos, tributes etc to any lost loved ones. These are wonderful ways to immortalize those loved ones you have lost.
  • Sponsor a trophy or cup for a local annual event. This trophy or cup will be won annually by different people, and the trophy will always have the engraving on the front of it dedicating it to your lost loved one. I personally have won two such trophies from entering vegetables I have grown in competitions. One of these trophies is a memorial to a man who died in 1954, and it is still being won every year. What a wonderful way to make sure his name is recognised annually without fail.
  • Pay for an annual scholarship to a relevant college in the person's name, e.g. if they were a keen musician in life, why not sponsor one scholarship a year for a worthy candidate chosen by the college. This is a pricey tribute, but if you can afford it I believe it is a fantastic way to ensure the loved one is never forgotten.
  • Create a Facebook page in their memory. This will allow everyone that cared about and loved the person in life to leave their own personal thoughts and sentiments on the page.
  • Set up a charity in their memory, whether to support research into a medical problem they died from or to increase public awareness of dangerous drugs that contributed to their death etc.
  • Commission a piece of music to be written especially in their memory. Whenever you feel sad you can play the music and think of them.

To All That We Have Lost

Creating memorials or tributes to lost loved ones is a large part of coping with bereavement and going through the grieving process. For those left behind, this is an incredibly painful time, and for this reason, I hope at least one of the suggestions I have included in this article is helpful to a family member or friend looking for a unique way to remember and pay tribute to their lost loved one in the years to come.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Cindy Lawson


Mary Levine on August 02, 2019:

Please understand that some Christian faiths look to Christ's burial as our model for funeral ( burial)

We believe that we will be resurrected ( body joined to immortal soul) at the end of the world.

There is memory of our beloved deceased in a sacred cemetery. A visit to a persons grave is balm for living souls.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 16, 2017:

Hi Betts5, I can't give you permission to post all or part of the article elsewhere as that would cause a duplicate content issue on the Internet and also dilute my own traffic. However if you want to use a snippet of text from this article accompanied by a link back to the article that would be perfectly acceptable. Thank you and I am so pleased you enjoyed reading it and found it useful on March 16, 2017:

If I credit you and give your contact information, may I use all or part of your article for our next newsletter for The Compassionate Friends in Wausau, Wisconsin? I'm the editor and we're always looking for information just like this. It's a wonderful article!!!

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on April 13, 2015:

Well if it is your farm I don't think it has anything to do with the other members of the family whether you fence in your animals or not. If they are that worried about the memorial itself wouldn't it be easier just to fence in that rather than all the animals?

Kristin on April 13, 2015:

My stepmom recently passed and we are now ready to have her memorial. Only thing I have never been through this. She had told me she wanted scattered throughout our 20 acre farm mostly by our fishing pond. So my dad and I decided that we would scattered her there at the pond and put a fishing pole in the ground for her. But I feel that the rest of her family won't understand it and will cause a big fuss. She loved her animals and I have been asked since the memorial will be outside on whether we will cage our free roaming animals. I feel that they (her family whom had hardly nothing to do with her) will want us to cage them and to me that feels like I would be disrespecting her memory. And ideas?

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 01, 2015:

Sorry to hear about your Mother Kristen, I hope you can find a lovely way to pay tribute to her memory and really hope this hub might generate a few ideas for you in one way or another x

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on March 01, 2015:

Great hub, Misty. Good ideas. It's been almost a year, since my mother died. On her anniversary, I'm thinking of doing something special to honor her memory, rain or shine.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on July 09, 2014:

Hi Ang, I hope there is something in my article that inspires you into a good idea.

Ang on July 09, 2014:

My husband just lost a friend who he lost touch with, but is one of the few people he spoke of regularly and fondly. They hadn't seen each other in a few years because the friend moved away. It was a very sudden death and he didn't have a chance to say goodbye. I am looking for an idea to help my husband cope, to do something simple, (maybe at the cottage) that he and I could do in his friends honour.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on April 17, 2013:

Thank you vibesites, I really hope that there is something for everyone here, and that the ideas have helped people to find ways to keep their loved ones close to them even after death.

vibesites from United States on April 17, 2013:

I know that it's hard to get over the death of your loved one; to me I will never get over it but I know I had to continue my life. They will never be forgotten... and I'm glad that you presented such lovely ideas on how to hold the memory of your loved one who passed away...

I like this hub. I find some of the ideas a bit unorthodox like mixing your dead loved one's ashes for your tattoo, but it's interesting. This hub is written with lots of love. I thank you for that. :)

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on March 21, 2013:

I think that sounds like a lovely idea Kerry, especially if you include a plaque on the planter so others can pay their respects to her, including those she helped over the years.

Kerry dolsky on March 21, 2013:

My mom lived to help the underdog. I want to put her ashes in a planter in front of the homeless shelter. She worked in the emergency room for 27 years and touched every life in my town. What do you think?

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 06, 2011:

Thanks Rainy28, glad you liked this :)

Rainy28 from Columbus, OH on December 06, 2011:

Very nice. I recently wrote a similar hub after my grandmother (daughter's great-grandmother) passed this summer. What an important topic. Thanks for the hub.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 01, 2011:

Thanks so much for your kind words Seeker7, I hope your Dad has many years left in him yet before you need to utilise any of these ideas.

Helen Murphy Howell from Fife, Scotland on December 01, 2011:

A wonderful hub misty and it's something I hadn't thought about before. I say this because my Dad's wish is for his ashes to be scattered at Loch Leven in Kinross, when he dies, as this is where he was brought up. But as you say it would be a beautiful thing to have a memorial of some kind for him and I think he would love this as well. There are a lot of really great ideas here that I will think about.

Many thanks for sharing! Voted up!

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 01, 2011:

Thanks Earth Angel, I love the sound of what you have done with the ashes, right down to the altar and the incense. Your comment is full of good ideas for others to consider as well. Glad you liked the hub as well :)

Earth Angel on December 01, 2011:

Wonderful Hub Misty. Such good things to discuss with loved ones long before the need arises.

All of my family, two-legged's and four-legged's have been cremated. In California the ashes can be divided into a maximum of eight smaller packets in case all/other family members want remembrances.

No one who was alive in my family at the time of another's death wanted the ashes except me.

Now that they are all departed, part of the ashes were spread where they requested, the rest put into marble urns. I have a lovely, happy altar in my home where each of the urns sits.

The altar is really quite beautiful and people are drawn to it upon entering my home. There is nothing sad or morose about it. It has flowers and incense.

When I move, the altar and ashes go with me.

In addition, I have numerous rose bushes in lovely pots, all planted in loved one's names in their favorite colors, and they too, move with me.

The faded flower petals from memorials, as well as the fading petals from each of their roses, are dried and combined into a nice fragrant popourri at the Holidays.

I love having my deceased beloved's with me always.

Thank you for this great Hub! Blessings always, Earth Angel!

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 01, 2011:

Thanks Green Lotus, you make a good point about adding special requests to wills. I guess too many people believe they will just keep on going forever, and it is probably younger people who fail to add such things to their wills thinking they have years ahead of them.

Hillary from Atlanta, GA on December 01, 2011:

This is so useful it deserves to be bookmarked. It's also a wake up call to those who have not yet added their burial or special requests in their will. Rated up and useful too.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 01, 2011:

Thanks Daniel. I know I did the right thing including you as your music is beautiful and I am sure you pour your own heart and soul into the pieces you write. What better way to remember someone than have a short piece of music written especially for, and dedicated to, them! Perfect.

Daniel Carter from Salt Lake City, Utah on December 01, 2011:

Some really creative and useful information in this article, Cindy. I really enjoyed reading it and will use and refer it to others as a resource. Thanks so much for including me as a part of the resources. It's true that music can do wonders to bring healing and meaning to life. I think sometimes I write music simply because it's a life-saver for me, more than anyone else.

Thanks so much for a great hub, and for the honor of being included!

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 01, 2011:

Hi Bob, that is great praise thank you although I am not sure I deserve it :) It is often the people left behind who care more about what happens to you after you die I feel, although I have to say both my Mum and Step Dad have already decided where they want their ashes scattered, and my Mum wants a wicker coffin.

My tomatoes were brilliant this year. I grew them in the greenhouse and the crop was so prolific I gave tonnes of them away. I take it yours didn't do well then!