It is a fact of life that those we love will pass away. Even when “expected,” it is an emotional struggle to cope with loss.
It’s the circle of life, and it moves us all,
through despair and hope,
through faith and love,
’till we find our place,
on the path unwinding.
That memorable quote from The Lion King reminds us that life is a circle whose course we are unable to alter. We will gain and lose loved ones over our lifetimes. We will cherish those who have gone before us and in that way we heal.
There are many ways that we can memorialize our loved ones besides the traditional ways with which you may already be familiar such as photos, urns or cemetery stones.Say not in grief he is no more – but live in thankfulness that he was
These are some examples and thought starters, though memorializing can be as individual as the loved ones we’ve lost.
Remembrance garden –
You may have already thought about planting a flower or setting up a special place in the yard in honor of a loved one especially one that loved being outdoors.
If you have space, you may want to create a living garden in memory of someone special. It could be a butterfly garden with special flowers and a butterfly house or a walking path through existing yard areas. You could plant a particular bed of living plants that your loved one favored such as azaleas or daisies.
There should be something added that reminds you of your loved one. This could be a plaque, a special bench, a handmade stepping stone, a flag or other ornament. A bird bath or seed feeder, hummingbird feeder or squirrel feeding station would draw in wildlife throughout the year making it a true living garden.
Quilt of many colors –
Gather together some favorite materials, colors or patterns that remind you of your loved one or some scraps from their everyday clothes that have a strong meaning like an apron or plaid work shirt.
Quilt them into a throw blanket or a full size bed blanket using a basic pattern or a more creative one that exudes a memory of your loved one such as a wedding ring pattern or a log cabin block. There are directions online to make a quilt if you haven’t done this before and need some guidance.
This special quilt can be handed down to future generations to become a lasting memorial.
Donation in their name –
You can have friends and family donate to a special cause in the name of your departed loved one.
Is there a particular charity that they were fond of or supported as a volunteer? Did they love the library or local school? Were they founders in their church?
Making a donation in their name carrying on their love for a particular organization will allow their memory to do good work!
Teddy Bear keepsake –
There are organizations that will create a teddy bear using a favorite piece of material from your loved one. It can be any type of fabric that elicits a memory. The teddy bears outfit is made from the cloth or even the entire bear. They are called memory bears and are so precious!
Similar to a memory garden, you can plant a tree in honor of a special person, a memorial that will grow over time.
Many people will bury in the hole with the new tree some article that belonged to their loved one, such as a scarf or pipe, that holds memories of them. Usually something that has sentimental value to you and other family members and will constantly remind you of your loved ones’ presence.
The tree can have a memory plaque underneath, a small seat, a bird feeder or some favorite blooms that will serve as a further reminder of your loved one.
Express your emotions through artwork. It could be drawing pictures, painting on canvas, creating sculpture, or make a memory box with photos/personal articles/mementos. Not only will you be left with a beautiful piece of art to display as a remembrance, but you will have released emotions and processed the passing of your loved one through creation of something beautiful!
Necklace/Jewelry with cremains –
You may have seen these items often called cremation jewelry.
They can be pendants in any shape such as hearts, crosses, shells, modern shapes or gemstones. Ashes or even hair or flower petals can be added to the jewelry for a lasting memento.
Cremation ashes can also be added to artwork in a variety of scenes such as footprints, stepping stones, flowers or religious images. You send in to the company a small amount of cremation ashes in a special container. They create different items using the ashes in the glass forming process or contained inside like a locket.
Engraved jewelry –
If your loved one is buried not cremated, you can have special jewelry with stones of significance such as all the children’s birthstones engraved with names, dates or special messages of meaning.
Decals on vehicles –
Lately we see many people with specially made memory car window decals. These are affixed to a window on your vehicle with a special message of your choice. They are custom die cuts that stick to the window and are very reasonably priced. We have seen them with religious images, hand prints, crosses, dates, stars, flags, angels and really anything of significance to you and your family.
Coping and Healing
You can use these reminders to help you as you cope with your grief and give yourself time to heal. Everyone recovers in their own time and in their own way, though many of us can’t do it on our own. It is a process that everyone facing a loss will work through.Yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift, which is why it is called the present. What the caterpillar perceives is the end; to the butterfly is just the beginning. Everything that has a beginning has an ending.
We would love for you to share, if you feel comfortable doing so, how you remember your senior loved ones using the comment section below.