Where can I find an artist to draw a memorial portrait?
When a loved one dies and is buried, there remains a gaping, aching hole in your life. After the funeral is over, once the flowers have dried and the baked casserole leftovers have all been consumed, visiting relatives trickle away and life (for everyone else) returns to normal. But not for you.
The 100 memorial ideas will inspire you to celebrate the life of your loved one. Even as you grieve, it is important to treasure and honor the memory of the decedent. These creative and inspirational memorial ideas are perfect for the funeral or celebration of life service, for the days and weeks following, and to ensure that their memory is well-kept for years on into the future.
These creative ideas fall into ten broad categories, each of which has ten specific memorials:
Memorial ideas for the service
Home decor memorials
Crazy & creative memorial ideas
My prayer is that this list helps you broaden the possibilities of how you can honor someone you love so very much.
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100 Inspirational Memorial Ideas for a Celebration of Life
10 MEMORIAL IDEAS FOR THE SERVICE
These memorial ideas are for the service itself, to personalize and make it a little bit unique – just like your loved one.
Display a custom portrait in place of or in addition to the traditional photograph
Decorate with symbols of their favorite pastime; e.g., in the colors of their favorite sports team, or herbs and foliage for an avid gardener
Serve their favorite food or treat at the reception
10 CROWDSOURCED MEMORIAL IDEAS
Use the resources of funeral or celebration of life attendees to create a special memorial. Ask each person to bring a photo, write down a memory, etc and use these things to make your own scrapbook-style memorial.
Start a GoFundMe campaign to cover funeral expenses or help the family of the decedent
Share your grief journey in a blog or in a dedicated Facebook page
Live tweet as you read their favorite books or watch their favorite movies. This is something you can do alone at home as part of your grieving process, but still get some community involvement by talking about it online
Volunteer at one of those ministries or charitable organizations
Pass on their personal Bible as a special heirloom to a child, grandchild, or someone they mentored
Many churches have a meal program to bring hot meals for the sick, parents of newborns, or the grieving. Consider setting up meal deliveries for the family of someone who has lost a loved one, or, if you are the bereaved, join the ministry when you are up to it in memory of your loved one (Read our sympathy meals guide here)
Write notes to or about your loved one, include your contact information, put them into bottles, and let them go in the ocean. You may get a text or email someday from around the world!
Write their name in the sand and take a photo (or have it done for you)
Scatter their ashes at a favorite location – in the ocean, at the golf course, from a mountaintop
Make up a drink or a sandwich, name it after your loved one, and get it on the menu at their favorite bar, coffee shop, or restaurant
Share a bottle of wine or spirits with close family and friends in an annual remembrance
Get a park, building, or local landmark named after your loved one (usually this involves a large donation)
Give away your loved one’s trinkets, games, toys, and keepsakes to younger family members. Do an Easter-egg-style treasure hunt to make it fun
Bring your loved one’s favorite books, movies, music, or other trinkets to the memorial service and invite people to take one home as a memorial
Provide self-addressed stamped envelopes to everyone at the funeral service, and encourage them to write a note of encouragement to the family or a story/memory of the decedent, and send it in the mail in a month or six months. This will ensure that the family receives plenty of sympathy notes, stories, photographs, and more during the following months
When choosing the cremation urn that will serve as your loved one’s final resting place, it is worth the time and effort to find the best quality at a respectable price.
While there are many types of urns out there, perhaps there is no greater disparity in quality among wooden cremation urns. While the photos you see online may look similar, don’t be deceived. There is an unbelievable difference between genuine solid wood cremation urns and the cheap knockoffs that use veneers and particle board.
Euphemisms for death about. This is because there are many ways we talk about death.
Sometimes we talk evasively, in a way that avoids really talking about death. Other times we are trying to be polite and sensitive, especially around the family of the one who has died. Still other times we turn it into a big joke, blunting the razor edge of death’s horror with humor.
We can talk about death clinically, with a focus on the physical symptoms that avoids the emotional aspect. And of the flip side we can use purely emotional, whimsical terms like “living on in our hearts” as a way to deflect the crushing reality.
Headstones are big, expensive, and permanent, so you want to get it just right. The headstone inscription can be a lengthy description or a short sentence or anything in between, but whatever length or style you want it done well.
I awoke from a vivid dream around four in the morning. Though my eyes were swollen from all the tears I cried earlier, I began quietly sobbing again, in the stillness of the night. Nobody else was awake in my house. It was just me and my tears, replaying memories in my head like a music player replays my favorite song.
My dream was about my dad, who was very ill. At the time, he appeared to be near death. The day before I visited him at a hospice care center with my husband and two young daughters. We brought him yellow flowers, something cheery to brighten up his cold, stark room. Then, we said our good-byes.
Have you heard of “Death Doulas”? They, of course, prefer the term end-of-life doula, but the catchier term is the one that sticks in the mind and is what most people search for when first diving into this broad topic of death, dying well, and end-of-life care. Continue reading Death Doulas & Caring for the Dying
Jewish burial practices are very similar to the contemporary eco-friendly trend, the “green burial” movement. As people begin to realize just how harmful some of the modern “traditional” funeral practices are, a movement back to the old ways it beginning to take place.