Many of us find solace in the memories of our loved ones. After we lose someone we love, reliving our memories with them can be a way for us to feel close to them.
Deciding how we want to keep a person we've lost close to us can be difficult — but there are many ways to remember a lost loved one. In this article, we are discussing some of the many ways that you can keep someone in your memory after they die.
Photo memorials and video memorials
A great way to spend time thinking of someone you have lost is by looking at photos of them. This can bring back memories, remind you of the person they were, and generally make you feel closer to them. While many of us have lots of photos we've taken on mobile phones, it can be helpful to compile these into one resource, like a photo memorial or video memorial, to help us feel close to our loved ones.
1. Photo albums
Putting a photo album of your loved one together can be a great way to remember them. As well as the finished product, the process of collating images for the photo memorial album is a great way to keep your loved one's memory alive, as it encourages you to reflect and look through old photographs of them.
If you have more digital than physical photos of your loved one, you may instead wish to put together a photo book online instead of a physical album, which can then be printed and delivered to you. There are many websites which enable you to make a photo book using photos you have on your phone, a tablet, or computer, which means that you don't need to have physical copies of photographs to do this.
Looking at photos of someone who we miss or wish to remember can be a helpful way to think about them and remember them as they were when they were alive.
2. Make a memorial video to keep a loved one's memory alive
You can also create your own memorial video for a loved one — this is something you can do at home using an app on a smartphone or tablet, or with editing software on a laptop or computer. You can incorporate text, photos, music, video, or whatever you want into this. Making a memorial video yourself means that you can include whatever you want, and sharing the video with your friends and family is a great way to remember and initiate conversations about your loved one.
If you are finding it hard to put a video together, you can find memorial video templates online to make the process easier for you. There are also professional services that can put together a memorial video or slideshow for you, for use at a funeral, wake, or just for your own personal use.
At Aura Flights, we create a personalised memorial video for every one of our passengers.
Meetings with loved ones
Friends and family, whether they knew the person we've lost or not, are often very important to us in difficult times. If you do know other people who were close to the deceased, meeting and talking to them can help you to remember them and the person they were. It can be especially meaningful to do this on special days such as on your loved one's birthday, the anniversary of their death, or holidays such as Christmas.
3. Talk about your loved one
Sharing your favourite stories and memories about the person you've lost keeps their memory alive for you — and furthermore, you and your loved ones might even discover something new.
In sharing your memories, you might find out something new about the person in a story shared by someone else. Talking about your loved one by passing down stories and memories is a great way to keep a person's memory alive, even if you tell these to a friend or family member who didn't know them personally.
4. Watch their favourite film or TV show
When you're gathered together with the people who loved the deceased, one way to feel close to and remember them is by watching a film or TV show that they used to enjoy. If you used to watch it with them, this can feel even more special.
5. Make one of their recipes
Many people have loved ones known for a specific recipe. If you're missing someone or want to think about them, you can keep your loved one's memory alive by making food that they used to cook or enjoy. This may also help you to remember times when you ate with them or they cooked for you.
Introducing a recipe to friends or new members of your family means that whenever they have that particular meal, they'll think about your loved one too. This is another way to keep someone's memory alive, in encouraging your friends and family to think about them even if they may not have known them personally.
An heirloom or keepsake
It can sometimes help us feel close to someone to have a physical object that connects them to us. This item really can be anything — what matters isn't what the item is, but how it makes us feel.
6. A family heirloom
Many families have an heirloom such as a piece of jewellery, watch, furniture or clothing that has been passed down through generations. Keeping a family heirloom close to you or as a part of your home can be a fulfilling way of remembering your loved ones.
While not everyone may have an item that's been in their family for multiple generations, keeping an item that belonged to a loved one who has died is still a special way to feel close to and remember them. You can even pass this on to your own children or other family members as you get older.
7. Keepsakes and memorial items
There are many services out there that can help you in making memorial items. From jewellery containing hair or ashes to cushions, blankets, and teddy bears made from a loved one's clothing, there is something for everyone.
There is a huge range of things you can do with ashes, but many people find jewellery a comforting keepsake. This is usually either jewellery with a fillable section, or jewellery with ashes incorporated into the pendant itself.
As a wearable keepsake, jewellery that contains a person's ashes helps many people to feel close to their loved ones. Alternatively, keepsakes made from a loved one's clothing such as a teddy bear or a cushion or blanket can also feel like a special way to connect with someone you have lost.
8. A memorial tree or bench
A beautiful and meaningful way to keep a person's memory alive is by dedicating a memorial tree or bench to them. You can plant your own memorial tree at home, or you can dedicate a tree to a loved one with a donation to charity, such as with the Woodland Trust or the National Trust.
Similarly, benches in both rural and urban areas are often dedicated to someone's memory. This could be somewhere your loved one enjoyed sitting themselves, or could be a place you like to go to think about them. You can also purchase memorial benches for your own property, or to install them anywhere else that you are permitted.
Both of these options are meaningful, and will keep your loved one's memory alive — everyone who walks past a dedicated tree or sits on a dedicated bench will see and read the name of your loved one, perhaps even spending some time thinking of them — even if they don't know you or your family.
Other ways to remember
There are an infinite number of ways to remember and celebrate a person's life. Some of these may be material, and some may just have symbolic importance. Either way, it can bring us a lot of comfort to reflect on our lost loved ones and how we felt when we were with them.
9. Visit a specific location that was important to them
Choose a place that you will go when you want to think about your lost loved one. This could be somewhere you used to go with them or your favourite place. Having a loved one's memory linked to a specific location can help you keep them close to you every time you visit.
If you have scattered a loved one's ashes in a given location, memorialising them using a service such as the Ashes Register enables you to digitally mark their resting place. This puts their resting place on a map, and allows you to add personal information and an epitaph — friends and family members can add condolences to the page, creating a digital record of your loved one's passing and their resting place. The Ashes Register is free to use, with the option for a one-off payment of £5.99 for the opportunity to add further information on your loved one.
10. Charity donations
Donating to a charity in your loved one's name is an impactful way to keep their memory alive. Contributing to the work of a charity that meant something to your loved one both honours your loved one's memory and makes a difference to whatever cause you choose.
In the case of some charities, you can set up a tribute page to your loved one, where others can donate in their name. These pages often include photos and a tribute to the person, making for a personalised and meaningful way to keep your loved one's memory alive. Contributing to the work of a charity also means that those helped by the charity in future are connected to your loved one, even if they don't know it.
11. Religious memorials
If you hold religious beliefs, these can help you to remember and cherish the memory of your loved one. This could involve lighting a candle for them, asking a religious leader to pray or say a mass or service for them.
You may also find comfort in asking others to pray for you, your family, or your lost loved one. Talking to your religious community about the loss you've experienced can be a great support, but can also help you to pass on your loved one's memory in celebrating their life with more people.
It's about you
The best way to remember your loved one is in whatever way feels right for you. You had a unique relationship with them, and only you know the best way to honour it.
However you think of and remember your loved one, choosing the way that works best for you is the most important thing.