Ideas for Memorials and Tributes to Our Lost Loved Ones
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.
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. This article suggests ways we can achieve this and still have a way to feel close to our dead family and friends.
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 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, so bringing new life from 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 (see my other hub for details). 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 a wonderful way 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.
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.