Losing a loved one can leave you feeling alone and lost, but finding a way to remember and honour them can often bring a sense of continued connection to the experience, and help you to continue your life in a way that seems both respectful, and more hopeful.
There are many ways to achieve this, regardless of the burial method, surrounding traditions, and other factors that may seem to limit your choices.
1. Dedicate a memorial vine
A popular gesture, especially if the loved one was a wine enthusiast or avid gardener, is to dedicate a vine to the departed. There is a company, called Memorial Vine, that can arrange dedication of a vine within one of their vineyards, either in the UK or France. Each year, on a day of your choosing, you will receive a boxed bottle of wine made from the fruit of that vine, as well as a bespoke letter of dedication. This is a great way to keep the memory alive with an annual reminder, and prices start at £65, so it is well within the budget of many households.
2. Dedicate a memorial bench
Another popular gesture is the dedication of a memorial garden bench. Not only can the bench be located in a beautiful spot, but it can be enjoyed both by you, and by the many people who might pause there for a rest during a walk or run. Some people place the bench in their own garden, where it is readily accessible for your own use, and for sitting and remembering times you’d had with the departed loved one.
All it takes is a bench purchased from a local garden centre, and a plaque – which can be affixed to it with a couple of screws. If you don’t want to (or are unable to) do this yourself, there are services that will do it for you. Many county councils have schemes where you can sponsor a bench in a park for around fifteen years. It allows a place for people to pay their respects, and then is freed up for another person after fifteen years in place.
You can also consider a garden love seat.
3. Plant a tree to remember a life lived
Planting a tree is another popular way to honour a loved one, both at birth and when life has ended. It is a wonderful symbol of love and life, and of the cycle of life. Choose a blossoming tree and you can bring some of the cuttings into the house throughout the season, remembering the loved one while brightening the home.
If you don’t have a place to plant a tree, many hospices have remembrance meadows where you can plant a tree and include a message placard. They often include these dedications on their websites too.
You could start with plug plants.
6. Keep a loved one’s accessory to wear
Traditionally, one way to remember a lost relative is to keep one of their personal items, either using it yourself, or displaying it in your home. Pocket watches, jewellery, favourite books, and other items are popular choices. There are professionals who will help you find the best way to display such objects, including articles of clothing or very fragile items.
8. Name a rose
For under £10, you can get a ‘name a rose’ pack, in a gift tin, that allows you to plant some unique roses and have the name of your choosing registered with the International Rose naming Registry, regularly submitted to the British Library. It is a lasting tribute to a loved one.
People who have had roses named after them include Ingrid Bergman, Bing Crosby, Barbara Streisand, and Paul McCartney.