If you're looking for meaningful ways to remember a loved one who has died, you've come to the right place.
You and your loved one had a special relationship. When you want to honor someone's memory and remember them in a thoughtful way, it's an indication of the deep relationship you had.
This could be the deep, rich love of a lifelong romance. It could be the unbreakable love of a parent for their child, or the humbly appreciative love of a child for their parents. Maybe you want to honor the sacrifice and investment of a friend and mentor who poured so much into your life, or perhaps you want to remember the truly exceptional relationship you had with a beloved grandparent.
Your heart is in the right place. So how do you celebrate, honor, and commemorate a loved one who has died?
Here are 35 ideas to inspire you.
35 Ways to Remember a Loved One Who Has Died
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1. Choose a beautiful cremation urn to hold their cremated remains.
2. Commission their portrait from a renowned artist.
3. Write down memories of your loved one, and collect stories from others, and put them in a memory jar.
4. Make a memorial quilt from their clothing (here's how to do it yourself, or have it done for you).
5. Have a teddy bear or pillow made from their clothing.
6. Adopt a local park in their name and help keep it clean and beautiful.
7. Observe a special day of remembrance each year on the anniversary of their death (here's how).
8. Feed the birds with a Personalized Memorial Bird Feeder.
9. Get an "In Loving Memory" memorial tattoo.
10. Have a comic book artist create a custom comic book to tell the story of their life in comic-book form.
11. Turn their special recipe into an heirloom with this Handwritten Recipe Cutting Board.
12. Wear memorial jewelry such as a ring, bracelet, or necklace.
13. Donate Gideon Bibles in their memory.
14. Put together and give out homeless care kits in their memory.
15. Light a candle in their memory (consider getting a special candle which you light specifically for your loved one; either every day, or once a week, or on special occasions, etc).
16. Get a tealight cremation urn to hold their remains and light a candle at the same time.
17. Hike out to their favorite wilderness spot and build a cairn.
18. Set up a garden stone in their memory.
19. Start up or transform a current garden into a remembrance garden.
20. Carve their name and dates into a special tree (there's debate about this; we recommend that you 1) only carve in a tree on your own private property and 2) make it small-ish to minimize potential harm to the tree).
21. Call into the local radio station and have their favorite song played each year on the anniversary of their death, or have your "special song" played on your wedding anniversary.
22. Create a cardinal memorial or something involving the famous "when a cardinal appears" quote.
23. Write their biography (it can be as long or short as you like, so don't feel like you have to write a 300-page tome).
24. Start a scholarship fund or charitable organization named after them.
25. Donate, in their name, to a cause or charity that was close to their heart.
26. Have a tree planted in their memory to help restore fire-devastated areas of the National Forest.
27. Plant and grow a tree from their cremated ashes to create a "living memorial."
28. Create a memorial space in your home with photos, candles, and special keepsakes.
29. Put together photos, stories, and clippings in a memorial scrapbook.
30. Display their cremated ashes in a very discreet way with an urn disguised as a memorial plaque.
31. Throw a party in their memory - this can be a quiet dinner party with their favorite home-cooked meal, or a raucous party complete with DJ and open bar.
32. Adopt a pet and name it in their honor - special nicknames like "Sweet Pea" or "Poppy" are often great pet names; after all, that's why they're called "pet names."
33. Write a poem or song, or create art (sculpture, painting, woodworking, etc).
34. Donate blood in their memory.
35. Continue their legacy of volunteering or giving back to the community.
Read next: 10 Creative Memorial Tributes to Loved Ones