20 unique ways to remember a lost loved one - Part 1

Posted by Nathan Lloyd | 06/07/2015 | Category: Funerals

Losing a loved one can be an overwhelming experience.  And deciding the method in which we commemorate the person who has played such an important role in our lives can seem like a daunting task.

Whether it’s a cremation or a burial, there are a myriad of remarkable and unique ways in which you can celebrate a person’s life.

I have put together my 20 personal favourite ways to commemorate a loved one from around the globe.  These are not endorsed in any way by Central England Co-op, but hopefully they will give you some food for thought if you are ever faced with this decision.  Part 2 can be accessed by clicking here.

The first 10 are ways to commemorate somebody after a burial are below and part 2 which details 10 ways in which people can use a loved one’s ashes to celebrate a person’s life will be posted early next week.

1. Dedicate a memorial vine

If the person you loved was a keen wine enthusiast, then what better way to remember the happy times you shared together than by dedicating a vine to them?

A company called Memorial Vine can arrange for a vine to be dedicated to a loved one at one of their stunning vineyards in either the UK or over in France.  And then every year, on a date of your choosing, you will receive a boxed bottle of wine from your dedicated vine, along with a bespoke letter of dedication.

Prices start from £65 and you can find out further details of Memorial Vine on their website here.

2. Dedicate a memorial bench

A really popular way to commemorate a loved one’s life is with a memorial bench.

The bench can be placed in a picturesque spot such as a place they enjoyed, or even just in your own garden where you can sit and reminisce about all the wonderful times you had together.

There are plenty of companies out there who will put together a memorial bench for you.  But a much more cost effective route is to source the bench from a local garden centre and organise the engraving of a plaque yourself.

There are also schemes by county councils all across the UK where you can have a loved one featured on a park bench that will be displayed in a public park for around 15 years.  That way everybody who wanted to pay their respects will be able to come down to the park and take 5 minutes out of their hectic schedule to remember the person who played such a big part in their life.

3. Plant a tree to remember a life lived

A popular way of celebrating a birth is to plant a tree.  So why not use the same logic to celebrate a loved one’s life after they are gone?

Every year when the tree blossoms, you can bring some of the branches into the house, symbolising the celebration of that life. 

Many hospices also have places such as remembrance meadows, where you can plant a tree and leave a message, both with the tree and online on their website to leave a long lasting memory.

4. Turn their favourite piece of clothing into a teddy bear

If the person in your life was known for their colourful ties or perhaps for a signature colour, then how about remembering them in the form of a teddy bear?

Memory bears are designed as keepsakes and are crafted from the material you provide from clothing that belonged to your loved one. 

Alternatively, the clothing could also be transformed into a cushion cover or a lap quilt, depending how you would best like to keep their memory alive.

5. Frame a cherished garment

If you don’t like the thought of departing with your loved one’s favourite garment, then why not have it framed?

As a keen fan of Wolverhampton Wanderers, I quite like the thought of my favourite football shirt being framed as a permanent memory of my legacy.

There are many professional framers out there who will have experience in handling garments and textiles and will help you decide the best way to display the article of clothing from the person you have lost.

6. Keep a loved one’s accessory to wear

Whether it’s your grandfather’s watch or your mother’s favourite earrings; having a piece of a person's life with you at all times can help you feel a lot closer to your loved one.

7. Create a shrine

The Greek way of marking a death doesn’t stop at the funeral.  They hold services to remember the lost one on the 40th day and annually thereafter. 

I remember travelling through Kefalonia a few years back and coming across several small beautiful shrines by the side of the road.  Typically inside each of these shrines was a religious icon, a candle, flowers and a photograph of the person who had died.

You may want to create a similar shrine at home, perhaps utilising a corner of a room which you could adorn with specific photos and mementos which will always remind of the loved one you have lost.

8. Name a rose

Packs are available to purchase from companies where you can buy a ‘name a rose’ gift tin for under £10. 

For your money you will get you some rose seeds, a certificate and the rose’s name will be entered into the International Rose Naming Registry which is periodically submitted to the British Library.

Celebrities such as Ingrid Bergman, Barbra Streisand, Bing Crosby and our very own Paul McCartney have all had roses named after them.  However, these are roses that have taken years to cultivate and breed and will have cost thousands of pounds to purchase the naming rights.

9. Have an annual day of celebration

Cultures from the around the world take a day every year to commemorate the people they have lost.  In many Latin American countries, such as Mexico, their version of this is called ‘Day of the Dead’ (Día de Muertos), which is held each year on November 2nd.  The day is also a national holiday in Mexico and focuses on gatherings of family and friends who join together to pray to remember the loss of loved ones who have died.

On the day, this fusion of Catholic and indigenous cultures sees people build private alters called ofrendas, honour the deceased using sugar skulls and enjoy the favourite food and drink of the departed.  They will also visit graves where they will leave some of this food and drink and some of the possessions of the deceased.

Different countries and religions all across the world have similar days when they will honour and remember the departed.

You may want to create a special day each year where friends and family of the deceased get together to remember their passing.  You can play their favourite music, eat their favourite food, reminisce about their life and celebrate the time they were part of your world.

10. Create a quilt from photos/clothing

Memory quilts are something that are very popular across the pond in the USA and are growing in popularity over in the UK. 

This is a wonderful way to capture dear memories either by using photographs or clothing worn by the person you have lost.

For the more adventurous of you, a memory quilt is something you might consider constructing yourself.  But given the levels of intricacy and expertise required, it may be wiser to enlist the help of one of many companies out there who can advise on the best way to put the quilt together.

Thanks for reading the first 10 ways to commemorate a lost loved one.  Hopefully you found some of the advice useful.

If you have any suggestions on ways to commemorate the passing of a loved one, please leave a comment in the box below. And if you would like any help and support regarding a funeral, please visit the funeral section of the website here where you can also find details of your nearest Central England Co-op Funeral Home.

You can access the 2nd part of 20 unique ways to remember a lost loved one, focusing on the amazing ways in which a people’s ashes are used around the globe, by clicking here.

About The Author: Rob Smyth

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Promoting the great work of Central England Co-operative across all forms of media.