The death of someone you love is always a life-altering event and negotiating the sadness and loss you experience can be complicated. Today’s fast-paced world doesn’t tend to hit the pause button for long when it comes to the laborious and painful work of mourning, regardless of how besot with grief, sorrow and the pangs of memory you are. While much about the grieving process requires time and attention, there are some avenues of remembrance that can provide meaning and support as well. If you have lost someone you care about, the creation of a memorial — an outward sign or symbol of that loss and the love you shared — can be fruitful and helpful. Here are ten different ways that a loved one’s passing can be memorialized.
A Memorial Bench
Whether it’s in a local park, your backyard or New York’s Central Park, dedicating a sitting bench to the one you lost is a great way to honor their memory and your own need for support and rest during your time of grief.
Organize a Charity Event
Did your loved one enjoy biking? Kayaking? High school football? Banjos? Whatever it was, consider utilizing that source of joy as a rallying point for organizing a charitable fundraiser. Whether you bike for cancer research or raise money for Alzheimer’s patients at a bluegrass concert, connecting something that your loved one enjoyed with giving back will not only bring opportunities to remember her, it will also provide opportunities for who she was to continue to be a source of good in the world.
A Car Decal
A customized car decal will uniquely honor the one you love. Choose words like “Rest in Peace” or “In Loving Memory” accompanied by a symbol or picture of something they enjoyed in life. You can also include the dates of their birth and death. With a customized car decal memorial, you can travel with the memory of your loved one’s life everywhere you go.
While permanent ink isn’t for everyone, a tattoo is a great way to place a marker on the body to remind them of the one they lost. Whether the tattoo is a likeness, a symbol, a design, initials or dates, a tattoo shows that the one you lost will always be with you.
Create a Memorial Website
Creating a memorial website is a great way to encourage other friends and family members who are grieving to remember the one you all lost. Include a message board so that users can share stories and memories. Also, the ability for users to upload photos and video of your loved one can bring unexpected delight. A memorial website can enhance everyone’s memory of the one who died.
Plant a Tree
Even if you don’t mark it with a plaque, planting a tree — whether it’s in your yard, on a family member’s property or in an open field — can bring a refreshing reminder that life goes on and growth continues even in the midst of pain. If you’re at a point in your grief where you need some hope and inspiration, planting a tree may be a perfect way to honor the one you lost.
Start a College Scholarship
Creating a scholarship in the name of the one you lost is a great way to make sure his memory is carried on while that memory helps others. Choose something that would have pleased the one you seek to honor. Was he a basketball player? Give a basketball scholarship at his alma mater. Did he play tuba? Give a low brass scholarship to a deserving freshman at your local community college in his name. A named college scholarship will ensure the one you loved and lost is remembered and appreciated for a long time.
Create a Stamp
The United States Postal Service lets anyone upload a photo and create a stamp that can legally be used to mail letters in the United States. Why not create a stamp with a photo of your loved one as a way to remember and honor her?
Make a Quilt or Gifts From Your Loved One’s Clothing
It’s often difficult to know what to do with the personal belongings of the one you lost. If you’re ready to go through some things but want to keep their belongings around, why not make a quilt out of your loved one’s favorite t-shirts? You can also use clothes to make gifts — bags, purses, napkins and the like — for others who would appreciate having something by which to remember the one who died.
Whether you place it in your home, office or church, a remembrance plaque is a wonderful way to memorialize the one you love. You can include a poem, memory, photo or simply dates of birth and death. Regardless of what you engrave on it, a remembrance plaque will serve as a reminder of both loss and love.
Death is never easy to come to terms with when someone you love is taken from you. However, by memorializing life and love in one of these — and other — ways, you can actively honor the person you lost and your own journey as you seek to keep cherished memories close throughout the process of grief.