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Heartfelt and Healing: Personalizing Memorials to Honor Loved Ones

February 26, 2018

 

When a loved one passes, we often feel bewildered and tremendously sad.  How do we move forward and heal?  Memorials that celebrate and honor your loved one’s life in a personal way can help.

 

The value of personalization.  Not all memorials are created equal.  You’ve experienced a “loss,” which is defined by some experts as “the state of being deprived of or of being without something that one has had.”  According to Psychology Today, memorials and funerals serve us best when they tap into our relationships and memories to heal from that loss.  By allowing us to reflect on who our loved one was and what that life was like, we can resolve some of our emotional distress created by missing someone special to us. 

 

Services at home.  Hosting a memorial at home is a wonderful way to honor the memory of a loved one.  It allows you to personalize the event in a manner that is most appropriate for you, including where and when to have it.  Seating can be formal or informal, you can invite particular family members and friends, and you may ask someone special to speak.  Food can be simple, light finger foods, a full catered meal, or everyone can bring a dish to pass. 

 

As Redfin explains, all the details are flexible and can accommodate your desires.  It can also be a unique reflection of your loved one.  For instance, your departed’s favorite foods can be served.  Or if you have an inside joke amongst family and friends that your loved one coined, honor it; if your loved one refused to eat hummus unless you called it “bean dip,” you may find a smile in offering “bean dip.”  Incorporate favorite flowers, a favorite scent, mementos, or whatever makes you think of the deceased or those things the deceased would appreciate.

 

Themed events.  Many times memorials are personalized with displays of photographs of the depart person’s life.  Some people take the concept further.  They host an unusual, personalized memorial event to be an intimate and warm remembrance of the deceased.  For instance, one idea is to focus on your departed’s favorite hobby and create an event based on that theme.  If your loved one was an avid golfer, consider an event at a golf course and incorporate a symbolic display, such as a portrait on a special green.  Or if your loved one had favorite pets, involve them in the event in whatever manner you see fit; they can attend as honored guests or you might display portraits of the pets in the memorial.  The event is an opportunity to honor your departed in whatever manner seems right to you.

 

Throw a party.  Did your loved one have a favorite destination?  CNBC notes that may be the perfect place for a celebration.  Whether it’s an overlook at an area park or a room in a local museum, consider securing a spot and celebrating your departed’s life with a party.  Have a barbeque, a pitch-in or a crawdad boil.  Enjoy remembering with a handful of carefully chosen friends and family members, or you can invite everyone you know.  Whatever feels appropriate will be the right choice. 

 

Charitable gifts.  If your loved one was involved in a charitable cause, some professionals suggest you may find special healing in a memorial gift.  If there was a particular project your departed was involved with and couldn’t complete, you can become engaged and see it through on your loved one’s behalf.  You may wish to establish a foundation in memory of your loved one, or you may wish for donations toward medical research on your loved one’s behalf. 

 

Find ways to honor your loved one that are meaningful.  You will find personalization can lead to healing.  Consider how your departed lived and celebrate what touches you about those memories. 

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