Memorial Inspiration: 15 Heartfelt Ideas for Remembering Loved Ones

When we lose a loved one, we often feel that a portion of ourselves goes away. Getting used to this feeling is a part of the mourning process-–along with all the emotions, memories, and reflections that come with it. But while this person has passed on, that doesn’t mean they stop playing a part in your life. As you move forward and learn to deal with your loved one’s absence, looking for little things to commemorate and remember their life is a thoughtful way to feel closer to them.

Although the grief journey is truly personal and can be different for each of us, there are a variety of memorial ideas that may help us feel our loved one’s memory within our daily lives. Whether going through memories together, visiting significant places, or creating little things in memory of them, we can learn to continue living without those we’ve lost. Delving into simple yet meaningful ideas beyond a traditional funeral or memorial service, here are 15 creative ways to keep someone’s memory alive.

1. Organize a Tailored Memorial Service

Known for celebrating the life of those who are no longer with us, memorial services create an opportunity for friends and family to support each other during the challenging process of saying goodbye to a loved one. These services may vary according to personal preferences and can take on a number of different formats and tones. 

There’s also no need for these occasions to be big events; they can be small and personal gatherings. While some may involve religious ceremonies or other traditions, memorial services provide a flexible venue to share stories, music, or any activity that celebrates the loved one’s life.

2. Design a Memorial Bench

Among the different memorial ideas, designing a memorial bench is a meaningful and creative way to honor someone’s memory for years to come. With just a little creativity, you can create something amazing that will celebrate your loved one’s memory for a long time.

The first step is to choose a significant location, such as a home garden or one of your loved one’s favorite spots. Exploring various design styles creates an opportunity to experiment with materials, sizes, and colors that best honor the one who has passed. To incorporate more personal touches, benches can be engraved, or you can have a memorial plaque made featuring the person’s name, birth and death dates, along with a quote or message that resonates with their memory.

3. Painting a Memorial Artwork

Art has always provided a space for expressing and reflecting on our emotions. Creating a memorial artwork is a simple yet profoundly personal and therapeutic process that allows you to reflect on memories and emotions. Inspired by different aspects of their life, your painting can embrace any style. Did your loved one appreciate pop art? Consider exploring Andy Warhol’s work for more inspiration. Were they more attracted to abstract art? Create something loose and gestural in their favorite color palette.

Experimenting with colors, shapes, and styles allows you to choose the artistic medium that best honors your loved one, whether it’s acrylics, watercolors, or even digital tools. Delving into digital visualizations facilitates easy online sharing, providing an opportunity to also create an online memorial to celebrate your loved one's life.

4. Frame a Handwritten Letter by Them 

Although it can be sad to delve into your deceased loved one's belongings, exploring their past can help you feel closer to them. Nothing reveals more about someone’s personality than handwritten stories-–whether they be diary entries, love letters, or random notes. Framing some of your loved ones’ handwritten pieces is a small action that enables you to keep their memory alive, inspiring you in various places throughout your home.

5. Incorporate Their Perfume or Favorite Scents Into Your Life

Among our five senses, smell is strongly linked and plays a significant role in evoking memory and emotion. Besides triggering vivid memories of past experiences, such as salty days at the beach or rainy walks through the forest, certain scents also invite you to recall an important person in your life. 

If a specific perfume or scent brings back memories of your loved one, consider incorporating it into various moments of your day. Use your senses to feel closer to them-–perhaps by applying the perfume before bedtime or selecting candles with their favorite scent to create an emotionally resonant atmosphere in your home.

6. Light a Candle in Their Honor

Lighting candles to honor and remember the deceased is an age-old tradition across various cultures and religions. When considering ways to keep the memory of your loved ones alive, consider integrating the simple act of lighting candles into a daily ritual.

By pairing this practice with activities such as journaling, meditating, or simply resting your mind, you can create a daily ritual that allows you to feel connected to them. Whether incorporated into your morning or evening routine, you have the flexibility to customize the act as you wish, enhancing feelings of love, remembrance, and spiritual connection.

7. Create a Scrapbook About Your Loved One’s Life

Honoring your loved ones is all about doing what feels best for you and your relationship with the departed. If you’re into arts and crafts, creating a scrapbook is a creative way to remember friends and family while colorfully narrating their stories. 

In addition to exploring your creativity with colors, patterns, and layouts, this process enables you to delve into different aspects of the person's life. By immersing yourself in your loved one’s old photo albums, tickets, postcards, or any significant items, you can recreate their entire journey in a creative and visual manner. 

8. Listen to Songs That Remind You Of Them

Whether you are musically inclined or not, playing or listening to music is a great way to honor a deceased loved one. There are no rules for choosing songs; you can explore their favorite albums, recognize lyrics that remind you of them, or revisit those moments when you passionately sang during a road trip. 

Maybe a particular song reminds you of your loved one, or its lyrics resonate with your grief journey. Incorporating music into mourning or celebrating or simply listening to it whenever you feel happy, sad, or in need of encouragement allows you to draw strength and understanding from the experience.

9. Create a Digital Photo Frame 

Given the quality of smartphone cameras and the ease of transferring photos directly to your laptop, printing photos and creating traditional photo albums are not as popular as they once were. However, integrating various photos from all your devices to create a digital photo frame is an easy and wonderful way to craft a modern memorial tribute.

With digital frames, you can customize slideshow settings to organize a specific order for special moments, making them last longer or highlighting any features you feel are important to the remembrance of your deceased loved one.

10. Organize a Family Reunion on Their Birthday

There is one day every year in which each one of us is uniquely special, and that is on our birthday. Why stop celebrating this day? Even though your loved one is not present anymore, using this date to be together and share stories with friends and family creates a special occasion to pay tribute and keep remembering them every year.

11. Visit Places They Loved

Commemorating those who have passed away can also be done by continuing to visit places that they loved. Whether that means special spaces inside your house, walking through familiar streets, or visiting favorite art galleries, cafes, and restaurants, you can likely feel their presence.

You can also plan a trip to visit their favorite escapes. This way, you can organize a family vacation or personal retreat to beaches, hiking trails, or the countryside. 

12. Prepare Their Favorite Dishes

It is commonly acknowledged that food brings friends and families together, whether it be for Sunday brunch or a special holiday meal. A delightful way to keep the memory of a loved one alive is by continuing to cook their favorite food. Begin by simply recreating a celebrated holiday recipe or concocting a favorite drink to experience the warmth of their presence through their culinary passions.

13. Raise Funds for Their Favorite Charity 

Another way to honor the memory of a deceased loved one is to contribute to or collaborate with their favorite charity. By donating money or raising funds on the charity’s behalf, your loved one’s legacy will endure even more by continuing to help those in need. 

14. Create a Time Capsule

Sometimes, it’s the little things, like gathering or going through your deceased loved one's belongings, that allow friends and family to keep remembering them. By collecting and preserving significant items from your loved one’s life, time capsules serve as a creative and meaningful tribute, holding onto memories through time and preserving memorabilia for future generations.

As an alternative to traditional methods, digital time capsules can be easily stored on your computer and passed on to family members and friends. You can even create a memorial website to share all the moments and mementos from your loved one’s journey through life.

15. Turn Cremation Ashes Into Diamonds

One way of holding onto a loved one is to create something special with them. To celebrate your loved one’s remarkable life and keep them close to you each day, consider turning their cremation ashes into a beautiful diamond. Whether you prefer a ring, bracelet, or necklace, or you want to create something unique and personal, Eterneva’s memorial jewelry empowers you to honor a loved one in a special and creative way. 

Memorial Diamonds to Honor Loved Ones

Eterneva understands how difficult it can be to lose a loved one. That’s why we tailor our memorial diamond creation process specifically for you. We start by listening and getting to know your loved one’s story so we can help you celebrate their life throughout your memorial diamond journey. 

Creating a diamond with the cremation ashes of a special person provides you with the opportunity to reflect on their amazing life while designing a symbol that represents the lasting impact they’ve had on those around them. Each step of the diamond journey to create your unique memorial jewelry is aimed at ensuring you end up with a unique and lasting remembrance of your loved one that you can hold and cherish for generations to come.