How do you remember a loved one who has passed away? Many people around the world have some way in which they remember the special people in their lives who are no longer with them. Here are several noteworthy ways people are remembering their loved ones.
Dan and his wife Crystal lost their sweet daughter the day she was born. To remember her, they visit the cemetery with their other 6 children each year on her birthday. Complete with balloons and a picnic lunch, the family celebration happens right there at the cemetery. This family has enjoyed this extra special tradition for the past 9 years. Dan shares, “We do [this tradition] not just to remember her and to remind the other kids of their sister, but also that even though we’re sad for a relatively short period of time, there will be a glorious reunion on the other side [someday].”
Margaret visits her husband’s grave on as many occasions as she can. His birthday, their wedding anniversary, Memorial Day, Halloween, and Christmas are just a few of the times she visits his resting place. For their 60th wedding anniversary, Margaret had a special easel wreath created to remember and represent their life together. It was made with 60 white roses, 3 red roses in the middle for their 3 children, 8 yellow roses representing their 8 grandchildren, and 9 peach roses for their 9 great-grandchildren.
Ashley and her husband Patrick lost their 18-month-old daughter Preslee 10 years ago after a tragic accident. One way their family has chosen to remember Preslee is to have something represent her in each family photo. This most recent photo shows their second daughter, Oaklee, holding a pink Gerber Daisy to represent and remember Preslee. Ashley recalls, “When Preslee was a baby, the big flower bows were in style, and we always said large Gerber Daisy flowers remind us of her.”
Many families, today and in the past, have a framed picture of their loved one in their family photos to remember someone who has passed away.
Another unique idea is to create an ancestor wall with several framed pictures of your ancestors and loved ones who have passed away.
In my family, we hold ancestor parties. An ancestor party allows us time to share details of our ancestor’s life with the younger kids in a fun and memorable way. Our first ancestor birthday party was for Grandpa Cole. He was a coal miner, so we decorated with lamps and hard hats. We had all sorts of treats that were his favorites. One of my nieces noticed his favorite cola was RC Cola. She thought that was funny because his initials were R.C. for Robert Cole!
Other activities we have enjoyed at an ancestor party include playing their favorite games, learning a new skill they were particularly good at, or watching an old family video of them.
Other Ideas for Remembering Your Loved One
- Create a quilt from the clothing that your loved one left behind.
- Plant a memorial garden with the flowers or vegetables your loved one enjoyed.
- Plant a tree in remembrance of them.
- Create a piece of jewelry with their handwriting engraved on it.
- Vacation at their favorite spot.
- Donate to their favorite charity.
- Add some stories to FamilySearch Memories about their life.
- Make a memory jar by writing short memories about the loved one on pieces of paper and then putting them in a jar to later share with the whole family.
Supporting Someone Who Is Remembering a Loved One
As special anniversaries such as birthdays, death days, wedding anniversaries, and favorite holidays approach, many people struggle to handle the grief they feel from the loss of a loved one.
- Send a card of comfort and remembrance to the family.
- Share a special memory of the deceased in a personal note, text message, or if you feel it is appropriate, you could post it to their social media page.
- Drop off a meal.
- Offer to visit the gravesite of their loved one with them.
- Just listen.
There are as many ways to remember a loved one as there are stars in the sky. How are you remembering your deceased loved one? If you haven’t started already, add a few stories and pictures of your ancestors to FamilySearch Family Tree Memories. It’s a great way to remember each person in your family tree and to share it with the whole family.