While nothing can ease the pain of losing someone you love, celebrating their lives is more than just a beautiful way to remember them, it helps us move through the grief cycle and find some peace. If you need some inspiration on how to memorialize a lost loved one, read on for some of the things that have helped me and my family after suffering a great loss.
Coping with grief after losing someone that you love is probably the hardest part of being human. It doesn’t matter if the person you’ve lost was young or old; if they died unexpectedly or after a long battle with illness. It doesn’t even matter if they had two legs or four! Grief hurts just the same.
I’ve never been good with death. I know that no one is exactly “good” with it, but I seem to be stuck in a constant grief cycle loop. Just when I think I’ve reached acceptance, something throws me right back into denial. I lost my grandparents nearly a decade ago, and my aunt just over 1.5 years ago. Some days, I’m fine. Others, I have to pretend that they’re just on vacation out of the country to make it through the day.
While these ways to remember a lost loved one won’t completely take away your pain, they will help you celebrate their life in a positive and meaningful way.
Beautiful Ways to Remember a Lost Loved One
*Thank you to Canvas on the Cheap for providing me with a complimentary canvas photo. Affiliate links included below. If you make a purchase through these links, I earn a small commission at no extra charge to you.
1. Create a gorgeous canvas photo of a special moment
When Canvas on the Cheap asked me if I wanted to create my own 16″ x 20″ canvas print, I had a hard time deciding what to put on it. At first, I was going to do a collage of my son. Then I considered doing one with all my pets. The thing is, I have a plethora of prints, blankets, pillows, and featuring both my son and my menagerie of animals. After some more thought, I realized that while I have photos of my grandparents all over the house, I don’t really have any of my aunt.
I was going to do a photo collage of some of my favorite pictures of her, but in the end I decided that I wanted something just for me. Something that celebrated MY special moments with her. In 2010, my mom used some of the money that she got from my grandparents’ estate to send Jake and I on a cruise with my aunt Donna and her family.
Memories of that vacation have helped me through some of the worst moments of grief. Even though I am super self-conscious about my looks, I decided that since it was just for me, I’d go ahead and choose a photo that captured out time on that cruise together!
Creating a photo canvas takes under a minute once you’ve chosen your picture, and as the name implies, the prices are incredibly reasonable! As you can see, they have 4 different sizes that cost under $20. The 16″ x 20″ is a great size if you want something that looks stunning on your mantle. While the prices are low, the quality of the finished product is high. It looks absolutely perfect!
Visit Canvas on the Cheap to check out all of their sizes and order your special memorial print now.
2. Support a cause that was near and dear to their heart
One of the easiest yet most meaningful ways to remember a lost loved one is to support a cause that they were passionate about in life. Although I’m not religious myself, my grandparents were very devout Catholics who believed that actions spoke louder than words. They spent several of their vacations in India, aiding Mother Theresa in her mission to help homeless children.
While I have miles to go before I do even half the amount of good that my grandparents did, I’ve become passionate about helping causes that are working towards ending child hunger throughout the world. I feel like supporting a cause that they were passionate about helps keep me connected to them.
3. Throw a remembrance party on their birthday
I haven’t done this one yet, but I think it would be such a great way to remember a lost loved one. When someone passes away, we have some sort of memorial service to allow everyone to share their memories and say goodbye. While these are cathartic in their own way, we’re usually so overwhelmed with the freshness of the grief to really celebrate their life rather than just mourn their passing.
My aunt Donna, who lost her battle to brain cancer right before Christmas in 2016, was so full of life right up until the end. During her funeral, we shared stories of her wild and wacky adventures, but they were tinged with a deep ring of sadness. I think she would want her family and friends to get together and really celebrate the amazing woman that she was.
Gather your friends and family, make your loved one’s favorite party food, and spend an evening sharing your favorite everyday moments and memories. You can even take it a step further and combine this with the first ida by asking friends and family to make a donation to your loved one’s favorite made in their memory.
4. Create a memory book to pass down
My grandparents had such amazing stories, and I’m grateful that I got to spend so much time with them & hear all of their tales. My cousins didn’t really have that opportunity. Some of them lived far away, as my aunt was a Navy wife who lived all over the country, and my youngest cousin was only about 9 when my grandparents passed away. None of the great-grandchildren were old enough at the time to even really remember them. Jacob was 2 when my Gran died, and 3 when Pop followed.
I want to sit and write down all of their stories so I can pass them on to the next generation. Don’t worry if you can only remember tidbits of certain stories. Write it all down anyway! Ask other family members to share their favorite memories and stories, too. Then, put it all together and print it out into a nice book.
5. Name a star after them!
I just found out that one of my aunts did this for my Aunt Donna. It’s truly perfect, considering Donna always told me that she was secretly from outer space! It took me years to figure out that she was kidding…or was she? There are a few sites online that let you name a star after someone.
After a little research, I discovered that the International Astronomical Union doesn’t actually acknowledge these star names in their official registry. Still, you’ll get a map and directions on how to find “your” star in the night sky. To you, it will be your loved one’s star! Of course, you can also just pick a star, map it out, and name it yourself if you want to save the money. The point is to choose a special spot in the universe that “belongs” to your loved one, even if it’s not legally or officially theirs.
Did you do something special to remember a lost loved one?