Contributed by Haley Burress
If you have recently lost a loved one, you are probably feeling your way through the complex maze of grief. While we certainly cannot claim to make this journey easier for you, we can offer ideas on ways to memorialize the person that you loved so much. Taking time to memorialize someone not only honors the person who is gone, but it also gives you a way to showcase what you loved so much about the deceased. You might choose to memorialize a loved one immediately, during funeral services, or after you have had time to process through the early stages of grief. No matter when you choose to do something special in memory of your loved one, it is sure to be an occasion full of emotions ranging from sadness to joy, pride to peace. Here are just a few of ways to remember your loved that may inspire you.
Start a charitable foundation or scholarship
If you are left with a large estate, or many donations, that exceeds the bills caused my medical and burial costs, you might consider starting a small charitable foundation or scholarship in honor of your loved one. If your loved one was a teacher, what better way to memorialize her than to give small scholarships to graduating seniors to put towards college or trade school higher education. An activist for cancer research could be remembered with a charitable foundation that donates money towards research projects. Recognizing a particular passion of your loved one through a charitable foundation or scholarship makes it possible to carry on to the next generation.
Make a location special
While your loved one may no longer be here, friends and family might find solace in a special place where they can go to sit and remember. Consider purchasing a park bench in your loved ones honor in his favorite park or donating a memorial brick at his favorite baseball park. Plant a tree in your yard or a rose garden at a local park. Designating a physical location that honors your loved one can be a lovely way to give back to a cause that he cared for and a beautiful place of healing for friends and family.
Throw a party or an annual retreat
When a loved one passes who was considered the family matriarch or reunion planner, it can be an honor to them to continue to get people together. Make a commitment to get together once a year or to continue traditions she started. What better way to memorialize your matriarch than to keep the party going?
Take a trip
After a close family member or friend has passed away, it might be healing for you, and an honor to her, to take her inner circle on a trip. Take that road trip that you always talked about during her chemo appointments or that trip back home to see your grandfather’s old childhood home. Fly to a distant beach to spread her ashes or light a candle for her in a church in Rome. Your trip will be full of emotions, so pack tissues, and it will be well worth it in the end.
The best way to memorialize your loved one is to life your life fully and without regrets. Make good decisions. Be spontaneous. Love others. Care for those in need. Forgive others. And most importantly, carry your loved one in your heart.