Memorialization is an integral part of every culture. In fact, the very practice of memorialization dates back to 35,000 B.C.
While customs have changed over time, so too have family preferences. With more and more individuals choosing cremation, surviving family members are often left wondering how best to honor the life of a loved one.
When it comes to cremation, there are endless possibilities for memorialization. So if you or someone you know is looking for ways to memorialize a loved one following cremation, we encourage you to explore your options below, as it can aid in the healing process.
1. Select a Memorial or Monument
Physical pieces of remembrance, like a memorial or monument, serve as an everlasting tribute to a life well lived. They’re available in a variety of materials, including granite and marble, and can be engraved with personalized messages. They also offer a physical, permanent place for your family to visit throughout your grief journey.
Having a permanent memorial also serves as a placeholder of sorts for future generations to remember this person.
2. Plant a Tree, Flower or Garden
Did your loved one have a green thumb or love of nature? Planting a tree, flower or garden in a meaningful location can be a special way to remember your loved one. When a plant or tree is properly nourished, new life blossoms, enabling friends and family members to see and feel the deceased’s presence. This creates a permanent place for remembrance.
3. Contribute to a Local Charity
Did your loved one have a favorite charity? If so, consider contributing to the charity in his or her honor. Or, talk with your family about regularly volunteering at their favorite charity on a recurring basis. Over time, you will get to know the other volunteers—many of whom may have known your loved one.
4. Create an Online Memorial
Did your loved one have friends and family members across the state? Country? If so, online memorials provide a connection point that many people can appreciate. They create a virtual space for you to commemorate your loved one by sharing stories and photos. Not to mention, it provides a safe place for you to connect with others who are also grieving.
5. Scatter the Ashes
While there are rules and regulations associated with scattering, this disposition method offers a unique way for friends and family members to connect with the deceased even after they’ve passed. If your loved one had a passion for the outdoors, consider scattering a portion of his or her ashes by land, sea or air.
6. Sponsor a Memorial Bench at a Community Park
Did your loved one frequent a community park? If so, speak with a city organizer about purchasing an engraved memorial bench in his or her honor. Establishing a memorial bench in a public place to honor your loved one is a meaningful tribute that you and others can enjoy for years to come.
7. Set Up an Honorary Scholarship
With tuition on the rise, scholarships give access to higher education for students of all income levels. If your loved one was active in the community or his or her alma mater, consider setting up an honorary scholarship at the local high school or college. This ensures your loved one has a lasting legacy on future generations.
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In the days, weeks and months following a loss, it’s important to remember the grieving process has no set timeline. To help guide you through your grief journey, we encourage you to subscribe to our weekly grief support newsletter, A Journey Towards Healing. When you subscribe, you’ll receive weekly emails of encouragement across an entire year of your grief journey.