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  1. Home
  2. Memorial Ideas for Remembrance of a Loved One

Memorial Ideas: The Heart of Memory Keeping

by Sandra Magsamen an inspirational artist who helps people express themselves & connect with others.

Recently a woman told me that when her best friend passed away, she was consoled by the stories people shared at the funeral. She loved hearing the way her friend had touched each and every person in her own unique, special way. Following the funeral, she sent a letter to all the people who had signed the guest registry and asked them to send her a story, a picture, or a thought about their departed friend and loved one. The response was overwhelming. Letters, notes, cards, and photos came pouring in. The woman took great delight in reading each and assembling them all in a book. Together, the stories painted a picture of a life filled with happiness, friendship, kindness, and worth. At first the woman thought she would assemble one book and give it to her friend's parents, but after she completed it, she knew that would not suffice. She had the book photocopied and sent a copy to every person who had contributed something in the book, saying, "I realized that our friend’s story is our story, too."

In our local newspaper I read about a group of women who created a quilt for a recently widowed friend from the fabric of her late-husband's clothing, making a beautiful blanket to cover their grieving friend in love.

When my uncle passed away, memories of the music he loved filled my heart. Uncle Stuart loved the music of the big bands. He so enjoyed listening to the songs of Benny Goodman and Glen Miller. What I loved was that he loved sharing the music with me too. I can still imagine the horns joyfully playing the melody of the great song, "In the Mood" by Glen Miller. Every time I hear that song, I smile and my memories effortlessly flood back to Uncle Stuart. I gathered a bunch of the songs my Uncle loved and now have a playlist dedicated to him. Music has a powerful role in connecting us with our memories and the people we have loved. This simple act of gathering music helps to keep our memories fresh and readily available.

Acts of memory keeping help soothe an aching heart and can comfort someone who is a grieving. These tangible ways of memory keeping can give someone something to hold on to when they’ve lost someone dear. Remember: There is no right or wrong way to gather and keep memories. Create a way that feels right to you.

Below are some additional suggestions to gather and keep our precious memories.

  • List item Plant a butterfly bush in the honor of a person who loved gardening. When the butterflies dance around the flowers, invite your memories to dance too.
  • List item Write a note to someone who is grieving with a story of how the deceased person touched your life. They will be thrilled to know and touched by your generous gift of a memory.
  • List item Make a book and fill it with the recipes that the deceased loved to make. Share the book with those who will find great joy in baking and eating a recipe like a favorite apple cake or chocolate chip cookie. This book may sweeten the days ahead.
  • List item Gather in a book photos that capture special moments in time. Gather and share the stories of times shared that brought laughter and joy to life within the pages of the book.
  • List item Send, or even give to yourself, a Bonsai tree with the intention to care for and nurture the tree and your memories of the person who has passed.
  • List item Place a photo of the person who has gone in a locket and wear it close to your heart.