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How to Memorialize a Loved One in a Creative & Meaningful

April 29, 2021 Plaques

Losing a loved one is often extremely difficult for friends and family members to process mentally, physically, and emotionally. It’s not uncommon for people to want to find new, meaningful ways to honor their loved ones and heroes to help keep their memory alive. There are countless ways to memorialize someone and you can use as many or as few as you’d like. 

Active Commemoration

Active commemoration of a loved one includes completing a task or event in memory of them. There are many creative ways to memorialize a loved one in an active way. 

  • Volunteer for a loved one’s favorite non-profit: One of the best ways to memorialize someone is by keeping their important causes close to you. Volunteering for their favorite non-profit can help you do so meaningfully. 
  • Raise funds for a charitable donation in their name: Along the same lines as volunteering, if there is a charitable organization that your loved one donated to frequently, donating to this charity can help you feel closer to them.
  • Use a biodegradable urn that will help grow flowers and trees: This one of the most creative ways to memorialize a loved one, especially if they were passionate about the environment. 
  • An annual ritual where you light candles or say a prayer for your loved one: Having an ongoing ritual that memorializes your loved one can help you keep their memory alive. 
  • Plant a tree in their honor: Plant a tree in your yard as a way to memorialize your loved one. Year over year, you’ll be able to see it grow and you can allow it to carry their memory. 
  • Do something they always wanted to do: Doing something on your loved one’s bucket list can help you feel connected to them. It gives you a deeper understanding of the things they loved and enjoyed. 
  • Releasing lanterns or butterflies in their memory: This is a special and creative way to memorialize a loved one. Releasing a lantern or butterflies into the environment is both eco-friendly and creative. 
  • Have an annual dinner to commemorate them: For close family and loved ones, having an annual memorial dinner can help keep treasured memories alive.

Artistic Memorials

Artistic memorials offer a creative outlet for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Anything that you can create has the potential to be an artistic memorial. 

  • Put together a scrapbook of their life: Use pictures, sayings, important events, fun memories, and more when you create a scrapbook dedicated to them. 
  • Write songs or poetry: Writing about your loved ones is a great way to memorialize them. Even if you haven’t written before, this could be a great opportunity to express your feelings.  
  • Create art with other grieving friends and family members: Doing a project together allows you to share memories and provide support with other friends and family who are grieving as well.
  • Write about them – or to them – in a journal: A dedicated journal where you go to write about your loved one, or perhaps even write letters to them, can be an emotional release, as well as a beautiful memorial. 
  • Paint memorial rocks and place them throughout town: Paint some rocks with words of advice or phrases your loved one used to live by. Once the rocks have been painted, scatter them throughout town for other people to find. 

Physical Memorials

Many people who are grieving often keep things that remind them of their loved ones. Things like keepsakes or photographs. These are physical memorials that help keep your loved one’s memory alive. 

  • Have a necklace or piece of jewelry crafted from their ashes: Using your loved one’s ashes to make a piece of jewelry is becoming more and more common. It’s a unique way to memorialize someone and keep them close to your heart. 
  • Make a memory quilt made from photos of your loved ones or their old clothes: There are several online shops where you can get a quilt made with pictures of your loved ones, or you could even make one yourself. If you have some of their old clothes, you could make a quilt out of those as well. 
  • Put a photo wall in your home dedicated to your loved one: A dedicated photo wall is a great way to keep your loved one close, because you can actually see their face every day when you pass the photo wall. 
  • Make a time capsule: Create a time capsule that has all things that you associate with your loved one. You can open it on your loved one’s birthday, or once a certain amount of time has passed. 
  • Get a tattoo in honor of your loved one: You could get a tattoo that they were going to get but never did, or a tattoo of something that reminds you of them. 

Digital Memorials

A digital memorial is something that you can create online, using either social media, websites, music streaming sites, and more. There are many ways to memorialize using a digital platform. 

  • Make a memorial social media profile: Create a social media profile in their honor. You could name it: “Friends of (Your Loved One’s Name)” or “Remembering (Your Loved One’s Name),” or something similar to those. 
  • Create a playlist of their favorite songs that can be shared with others: This is a great way to memorialize your loved one if they were a big music fan. Use their favorite songs to create a playlist that their friends and family can listen to.
  • Create a memorial website: Create a website dedicated to your loved one. It can have photos, information about their life, places they frequented, charities they donated to – the possibilities are endless with a website in their honor. 
  • Use Pinterest to create a memory board: Pinterest is a good social media platform for creating a digital memorial. Find “pins” that remind you of them to create a memory board for them. This is something you can keep adding memories to. 
  • Produce a documentary of their life: A documentary made of home videos, interviews, and photos is a great way to memorialize a loved one. 

Public Memorials

A public memorial is something in public (that the public can see and, sometimes, use) that you dedicate to a loved one. This can include public benches or signage. These may involve getting approval from the city or town in which you want the memorial. 

  • Dedicate a plaque in your loved one’s name: This is one of the best ways to memorialize someone. You can commemorate your loved one through a garden plaque with a stake in a public garden or add a plaque to a public bench in the park.
  • Have a landmark named after your loved one: A landmark named after your loved one, such as a building, is a special way to memorialize them. 
  • Have a memorial plaque made in their honor: Oftentimes when a company or city is building a new business, they’ll ask the public if there is anyone who wants to put a memorial plaque on the new building. This is a great way to memorialize your loved one, especially if the business is a non-profit they favored, or a company they used to work for. 
  • Create a college scholarship in their name: You can create and fund a scholarship in their name at the high school where they graduated from. Each year the scholarship will be given to a student who either wins a competition for it (like an essay contest) or has proven academic excellence thus far in their schooling.
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