My Grief Care

Foundations Of Grief

14 Episodes

Episode 12 : Ways to Remember Them


Episode Notes Ways to Remember Them Candlelighting Ceremony

Ways to Remember Those You Lost

Death does not stop us from loving those we’ve lost. The love stays with us. The relationship you shared is important and worth remembering and sharing with others. We all need an outlet to express what we are feeling on the inside, and these activities will help you do that.

My son and I would go to my husband’s favorite restaurant on his birthday. A client of mine had a pillow made out of her husband’s favorite shirt.

By taking part in any of these activities, you will feel closer to your lost loved one and create forward motion in your grief journey.  What feels comforting is just as unique as grief, so choose the ones that feel right to you and your family.  

Here are some ideas and we have these in a downloadable handout:


  • Go to the cemetery with holiday balloons, flowers or notes.
  • Light a “celebration of life” or memorial candle. You may want to consider their favorite color or scent when choosing a candle.  Light it weekly, daily, on special occasions or whenever you want to.
  • Give someone an unexpected special gift in memory of your loved one.
  • Plant a memorial tree or flower bed. Ron planted a very special tree in his yard and buried DeeAnn’s ashes under it. He calls it the DeeAnn tree.
  • Get a memorial garden stone or paint and decorate the rocks with your loved one’s name, favorite things, or quotes and put them in your yard or garden.
  • Make a memorial bench.
  • Volunteer to help a charity in their memory.
  • Create a memory box or other special place where you and others can write down memories you treasure.  Ask people to send you their special memories of them. You could ask people to post memories on social media and you can print them out.
  • Play their favorite game.
  • Pick a few special items that belonged to your loved one and give them to friends or family who will appreciate them.
  • Where memorial jewelry – ring, necklace, bracelet.
  • Make a memorial decoration in honor of your loved one.
  • Play your loved one’s favorite music or create a songlist of their favorite songs
  • Pull out old photo albums or family movies to watch and look at on special days.
  • Make a dish they used to make or make a meal with all their favorite dishes. Food can be a great way to spark memories and stories of your loved one.
  • Leave an empty seat at the table and set a place setting on special days. Decorate it with a single flower, poem, card or memento.
  • On strips of paper, write memories that family members have of the person and loop them together to create a chain. who died or special gifts that person left with you. Loop the strips to create a chain. Children love this.
  • Share an important lesson you learned from them.
  • Buy a gift you would have given to your loved one and donate it to a local charity.
  • Make a large family photo collage, including pictures with the deceased loved one. Write a poem about the person.
  • Take a favorite piece of clothing and turn it into a teddy bear, a pillow or take multiple pieces and make a blanket.
  • Have an annual day of celebration.
  • Celebrate their birthday. Throw them a birthday party.
  • Finish something on their bucket list.  Complete something they wanted to complete.
  • Create a memory box with videos, pictures and anything else. This is especially good for children since it is easier for them to forget.
  • Go to a favorite place of theirs – a coffee shop, restaurant, park, event or ??
  • Watch their favorite movie.
  • 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.
  • Start an event or foundation in their honor based on their interests or how they died. Host a fundraiser in their name.
  • Start a scholarship in their name.
  • Build something in their name.
  • Start a “Thoughts of You” Journal using a blank journal. Every time you think of this person, write down your thoughts, memory, or feelings in the journal.
  • ​​Design a shirt with your loved one’s favorite saying.
  • Give away your loved one’s favorite books, after writing special messages inside the front cover.
  • Foster a dog and speak to them about your loved one often.
  • Set a personal goal and make them proud.
  • Live a life of worthiness that honors them. Think about what they valued in life and see how these lessons can inspire you today. Whether it’s your education, ethics, or other life choices, remember what they would have wanted for you and let yourself be guided by the life they modeled.

Maybe you have an entirely different or unique way to remember them.  We always welcome your ideas as they may inspire someone else.  Please post them in the comments section.

I would also like to share this memorial candle ceremony that we do during our grief retreats. It can be a really powerful family moment.

You simply need four candles and a copy of the memorial to read. One person can read the memorial while another lights the candles, or simply take turns. The candles can then be displayed in a special place in the home or at the place setting of where the person sat at the dining room table.

If you would rather have a memorial candle ceremony alone, that is okay, too. The ceremony helps with healing, especially on milestone occasions. Feel free to change or add to the memorial verse to make it more meaningful.

This memorial candle ceremony can also be shared with others who are not present. A family that lost their daughter sent a similar memorial poem with four candles on a pretty tray to their friends and family. The recipients could then do a memorial service in their own home when it felt right.

Memorial Verse for Your Loved One

As we light these 4 candles in honor of you,
we light one for our grief,
one for our courage,
one for our memories,
and one for our love.

This candle represents our grief.
The pain of losing you is intense.
It reminds us of the depth of our love for you.

This candle represents our courage –
to confront our sorrow, to comfort each other, to change our lives.

This candle represents your memory –
the times we laughed, the times we cried, the times we were angry with each other, the silly things you did, the caring and joy you gave us.

This candle represents the light of love.
(If it’s a special date, you could say “As we recognize this special day” or start below)
we cherish the special place in our hearts
that will always be reserved for you.
We thank you for the gift your living brought each of us.

We love you (say your loved one’s name).

(This is available as a download on this page.)

My friends’ memories are sometimes painful – especially when the loss is recent.  Consciously remembering someone you have lost might feel like more pain than it’s worth.  But that isn’t true.

Memories allow us to love someone even after they have died.  Creating a tradition or doing something in their memory can help you move through your grief.  It can be part of healing even though it hurts.


Think of some ways you might like to honor your loved one. Use our list or have a brainstorming time with your family. This can be a great opportunity for some family healing as you figure these things out together.


Remembrance Never Dies