How to remember your loved one

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How would you like to be remembered by your family? Probably never really thought about it have you? It is a generation thing you might say? Like trees. Some generations plant trees. Others don’t.

The whole dying thing is so mysterious and will always be perceived as such by many people.

Was the deceased a gardener? Did they have a special hobby or perhaps a place where they used to go to be quiet and contemplate? Were they religious and a regular church attendee?

The passing of a loved and close relative, spouse or a friend is traumatic, a shock and a deeply personal experience. After the event and you have come to terms with your loss, you will want some form of remembrance of them.

Here are some ideas for you to remember someone after they have died.

You could place the ashes of the deceased in a special, quiet space in a garden then plant a tree to be nurtured by the ashes beneath the roots. This would become a shrine to their memory where relatives might spend some quiet time in reflection about the person.

Of course, each of us will have such memories and will make them their own. After all that is what families are about. Friends you may choose, family never!

Personally, I remember the anniversary of my parents passing and devote a little time in their memory, thinking about some of the memorable moments I spent with them. There are so many. My parents watching me at my first sports day at school. A holiday in Cornwall fishing for mackerel, my father showing me how to make sure the car was ready for the journey and running properly. Showing me how to tie my first bow-tie. My mother’s sadness when I left home to work in London. Her joy when I came home for the weekend. Everything would be polished, table, furniture and glass. She would make such a fuss. Everything had to be nice.

You might write a poem in memory of your loved one and take it out to read to yourself when you feel low.

Why not take some small keepsake they treasured and carry it with you? It might be a piece of jewellery, which is easy to hold.

If they wrote you a letter you might frame it and read it when you see it during a busy day.

Remember the legacy of your parents and grandparents. It is they who shaped you, taught you right from wrong, made sacrifices, loved and cherished you as you were growing up. Helped you work out your problems and made you able to face the world with true character.

You should try and emulate their goodness and radiate it to the people all around you as you pass through your life so becoming a better person in the process.

You could set a place for them at the table for a special family event or religious celebration such as Christmas or Easter.

A lovely thing to make is a scrap-book of photographs, memorabilia, invitations, events they attended, letters and any piece of writing that illustrates their special personality.

Connect to those things they cared about. Remember the values they cherished and carry them out as an example to their memory. 

If your loved one suffered from a terminal disease, you might help support future research by way of a donation to the foundation that supports it.

However religious the person was, whether or not they wanted a traditional funeral, it is always nice to hold a memorial service in their honour. This may be in the local parish church where they worshipped or were married, or any suitable venue. You can make it your own.

One person I know sent out invitations to all his late wife’s friends inviting them to church and a funeral tea in her memory. This was a beautiful tribute with all her favourite hymns and readings, which were given by various family members and friends.  Everyone contributed, everyone was happy and the widowed husband particularly so. The church was full of spring flowers, their scent filling the space. There was joy everywhere.

Then, there is the modern possibility to create an on-line memorial to your loved one.  Create a multimedia tribute in their honour. Many sites will support uploading photos, videos and documents to make a digital story of their lives.

An act of remembrance is an expression of love for the departed to keep their memory alive and close to your heart. it can come in different forms. A poem, ritual, or event in their honour. Let your imagination run riot in whatever form, simple or elaborate.

I hope these ideas will inspire you.  Good luck.

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