After experiencing a loss, many find comfort in keeping the memory of a lost loved one nearby, especially at home.
The home, which is an extension of a family, is a natural place for people to display photos and items that belonged to the deceased or create a special display or area that memorializes them. In creating such displays or areas, we honor our lost loved ones and ease our own grief by keeping our hearts, hands and minds occupied by carrying out a project in their memory.
The following are a few ways to memorialize a lost loved one in the home.
Share belongings as keepsakes. The spouse or adult children of the deceased should consider giving something that belonged to the deceased – a small, token item – to grandchildren, nieces and nephews or close friends as a keepsake for their homes. Especially in the case of the closest of relatives, allow them to select the item themselves. This can be something meaningful only to them, such as an item connected to an activity they did with the deceased.
Plant something. As a way to remember the avid gardener or one who simply enjoyed spending time outdoors, a garden is a great place to allow memories of the deceased to grow and flourish, season after season. A single tree, potted flowers and plants or beds in a memorial garden allow survivors to honor their lost loved ones with living things of beauty.
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Placement: Whatever you and your family choose to plant, consider doing it in a place that can been easily seen and shared. Whether hanging from the ceiling of a porch or planted in the yard, the location can be chosen on the basis of the best view from inside your home or according to how it looks from the street. Planting something in a remote or hidden location on your property is another option to provide intimacy and privacy.
- Flower Types: When planting flowers, keep in mind that many have symbolic meanings and can be chosen on that basis. The most popular flowers are annuals or perennials that are easy to maintain. Regardless of ease of maintenance, you can decide to plant flowers that capture your loved one’s personality or ones that were their favorites. Pay attention to bloom times. Choosing flowers that mature at different times of the year will keep your memorial flourishing through all seasons.
- Memorial Garden Decor: Incorporating decorative items near your garden can add a special touch. Memorial benches, for example, allow visitors to take a moment to pause and take in the environment during reflection. Consider having the bench engraved with the deceased’s name, a verse of scripture or a quote from the memorial service. Other items for the garden might include a birdbath or feeder, a fountain with running water or a flag representing the deceased’s military service or favorite sports team.
Create keepsakes from clothing. Was your lost loved one fond of plaid shirts or clothing in every shade of blue? Use items of their clothing to create throw pillows or quilts to add a sentimental flair to your home’s decor. You can embroider quotes or symbols to the fabrics for added meaning. These items of clothing also can be used to create teddy bears or baby blankets to keep in a nursery or bedroom.
Compile recipes for a family cookbook. Few things are more personal than the food we eat and the people we share meals with. To remember the cook and/or baker you’ve lost, compile some of their favorite recipes into a family cookbook. If the deceased was known for making a specialty dish, consider having that recipe framed and hang it in an appropriate place in your home. And don’t put off making a meal using those recipes to honor your lost loved one. In addition, once you establish a family cookbook, you can add recipes from other family members who pass away and create a treasure to pass down through the generations.
Create a memory table. A simple way to memorialize your lost loved one is to collect family mementos, pictures and notes or letters written by the deceased or from others and display them on a table or shelf. Preserved flowers from the memorial service or a candle can add color, warmth and light to the space.
Place special items behind or under glass. You can give added prominence to the deceased’s most special possessions by framing them or placing them inside a tabletop display case. Showing off military medals or a favorable newspaper clipping in this way allows your lost loved one’s achievements to shine every time someone glances their way.
Memorializing a loved one is a special and unique process, so remember that every tribute is fitting, no matter what form it takes, and every tribute can help you walk through the grieving process.
For more ideas on memorializing a loved one who has passed away, check out our helpful blogs or call Bevis Funeral Home today at 850-385-2193.