Creative Ways To Memorialize A Loved One

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When our loved ones die, many of us want to keep their legacy alive. There are now more options than ever for memorializing those that pass away. Here are just a few creative ways to honor friends and family after death.

Choose a unique gravestone

Gravestones come in all shapes and sizes. Headstones and flat tablets are the most popular options, but there are all kinds of other options for those that want to honor their loved ones in a unique way. Some companies are able to build custom-made stones (these are a lot more expensive and can take a while to manufacture, so bear this in mind).

Personalized engravings can be another way of making a gravestone unique. This could be anything from a poem they loved to a humorous anecdote about the person (if you’re certain that’s how they’d like to be remembered). Bronze grave markers can help inscriptions to stand the test of time and are another way of making a gravestone stand out. It’s also possible to explore alternative forms of stone – nowadays granite can come in all kinds of colors suited for memorializing loved ones that had vibrant personalities.

If your loved one is going to be buried in a church graveyard, you may find that there are restrictions when it comes to gravestone design. Cemeteries tend to have more freedom when it comes to accepting designs, but you may still want to check with cemetery officials.

Plant a memorial tree

Planting a tree is another way of keeping a loved one’s memory alive. It could be an environmentally-friendly substitute to a grave – many people like to bury their loved one beneath the tree or scatter their loved one’s ashes in the earth while planting the tree. Alternatively, it could be an added way of paying tribute.

The tree could be located in a forest or it could be planted outside your home/your loved one’s home. It’s important that you get permission from the landowner first. Further permission may be needed for scattering ashes, burying a body or adding a plaque. If you’ve opted for cremation services, Scattering Gardens are ideal if you wish to visit your loved one from time to time

Different trees have their own symbolic meaning, which can be worth looking into. For instance, oak trees are a symbol of strength and knowledge, while silver birches are a symbol of hope and regeneration.

Memorialize them with jewelry

Another way to memorialize a loved one is through jewelry. This can be something that is worn to keep a loved one close at all times.

Engraved jewelry is one option – you could buy a necklace and engrave their name on it with dates. You could also consider a locket with a photograph of your loved one in.

There are even ways of incorporating a loved one’s ashes into jewelry. Ashes can be mixed into glass or even turned into a diamond. You can even keep the ashes in a small closed pendant.

Turn their ashes into vinyl

On the topic of creative ways to use cremated ashes, there’s also the option of immortalizing your loved one by pressing their ashes into a vinyl record. There’s currently one company that offers this service – it’s not cheap, but it could be worth it if your loved one was a music lover.

You can choose what recording will be on the vinyl. This could be a song, a reading of a poem or a voice recording made by your loved one themselves.  

Showcase photographs and possessions

Many of us create shrines or altars to loved ones – these may be areas of our home containing physical reminders of various people that have passed away. These physical reminders often include photographs and possessions.

There could be creative ways to showcase these photographs and possessions. When it comes to photographs, you could consider a collage of various happy memories. Alternatively, you could consider a single photo in a frame with a personalized inscription.

When it comes to possessions, there could be ways of putting them in a case or framing them, providing that they are not too large. There may even be ways of repurposing items. For instance, there are some companies that can turn clothing such as shirts into memory cushions.  

Consider a memorial bench

A memorial bench is another way of commemorating a loved one. This bench could contain a plaque with a memorable inscription on it and it could be placed in a location that had a special meaning to your loved one.

Memorial benches can be made from wood, metal or plastic. Wood benches are commonly made from teak while metal benches are made from galvanized steel. Plastic benches are commonly made from recycled plastic making them eco-friendly. Some companies even offer the option to mix ashes into the bench.

When placing a bench somewhere, you’ll need to get permission from the landowner. In some places, there may be existing benches that you can ask to add a plaque to.

Create a book of remembrance

You could consider compiling various memories into a book that you can look through. This could contain accounts of their life, excerpts from diaries and photographs. Such books can be an alternative to a shrine and could be a way of passing down memories to future generations.

If you have the time, you could even write a biography about their life. If their life was full of fascinating stories, this could be a way of recording these stories so that they aren’t forgotten.  

Get a tattoo

It’s become common for many people to get a tattoo as a way of remembering a loved one. This could be a tattoo of their name or an image that reminds you of them (such as an animal or a musical instrument or a symbol).

There are even some people who have got cremation tattoos – this includes adding a loved one’s ashes to tattoo ink so that they are a part of that tattoo. Only specialist tattoo artists are likely to be able to do this, plus it’s worth noting that the health risks haven’t been fully explored.  

Set up a charity in their name

If there’s a cause that you’d like to raise money to in memory of your loved one, you could even consider setting up a charity in their honor. The charity could be named after them and you could use their story to help your cause.

Of course, setting up your own charity isn’t the only way to pay tribute to loved ones through a cause. You could take part in a sponsored event and donate money to an existing charity while using your loved one’s story to attract sponsors.


Lisa Smalls is a freelance writer from North Carolina. She loves writing about all things interior design. When she isn’t writing, you can find her rearranging her furniture or brainstorming which room to paint next.

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