How Do You Remember Someone Who Has Been Cremated?
Designing a fitting memorial tribute to a lost loved one will always be difficult. The first thing to keep in mind is that there are many different ways to remember someone, and not all of them will be right for you.
When we think about memorials, we often think of visiting a person’s graveside and bringing flowers and other keepsakes. But when your loved one has been cremated, you might not have a graveside to visit. Rather than seeing this as a limitation, you should instead think of it as an opportunity to remember the person in a way that is most authentic to you.
Our loved ones will always live on in our memories, but it is helpful to the grieving process if we have a way to express our loss in a physical way. There are many stages to creating cremation memories, and we will guide you through them below.
The funeral and cremation
The funeral and cremation are the first stages of saying goodbye. This is often the most difficult part for family and loved ones because the loss is still very raw and fresh. You might feel that you are simply going through the motions and following a template for the funeral and cremation. Leaning on those closest to you during this difficult time will enable you to host a beautiful funeral that will give individuals a chance to say goodbye.
The wake or memorial service
Immediately after the funeral, or in the weeks following, you might host a wake or memorial service. This will allow you to bring together those who may not have been able to attend the funeral and host something more personalised to the person. You might host this in your home, or a function suite. You can invite a wider group of people to say a few words and use this as an opportunity to celebrate your loved one’s life.
Decide what to do with the ashes
If you have chosen cremation, you will need to decide what to do with the ashes. There are a number of options available to you.
Keep the ashes in your home
Some people keep the ashes in their home forever, while others will simply hold on to them until they have decided where they would like to put their loved one to rest. If you choose to keep the ashes in your home, you could remember your loved one by creating a decorative urn or a display for the ashes.
Scatter the ashes
Scattering the ashes in a spot that your loved one would like to be laid to rest is an ideal way to remember your loved one. You can mark the spot with a memorial plaque or a bench to give yourself a place you can return to and reflect on the life you spent with your loved one. Scattering the ashes can help with the grieving process, as it will allow you to physically let go and start to move on.
Create an ashes keepsake
If you aren’t ready to let go of the ashes entirely, or if you feel you need a little bit of extra comfort, creating a memorial ashes keepsake is the perfect way to pay tribute to your loved one. A keepsake could include a piece of artwork for your home, a memorial pebble, or even a piece of jewellery you can wear to remember your loved one. Memorial jewellery will make a touching gift for your family members who may also be struggling with their grief.
Bury the ashes
Burying the ashes in a churchyard, a garden or another special place is another way to remember your loved one. Burying the ashes is the closest thing you will have to a gravesite, and it can be less daunting than scattering the ashes. Some people aren’t ready to confront death in this way, so burying the ashes makes a lot more sense for them. You can mark the site with a plaque, a grave marker or even a memorial garden. Remember you need to have permission from the landowner if you are burying the ashes on private land.
On their birthday
It’s not uncommon to mark the deceased’s birthday in their absence, and this can be an excellent way to bring your loved ones together. Remembering them on their birthday can help you to continue to process your grief and learn how to mark special occasions without them. You could take a trip somewhere special on your own, or you could invite close family and friends to your home to share stories about your loved one.
On the first anniversary of their death
One year after you have lost your loved one will be a difficult date on the calendar. Taking the time to pause and reflect on this special day might feel morose, but it can help in the grieving process. It’s important to take a moment to see how far you have come in this time and recognise that you might still have some unresolved feelings. The anniversary of their death will always be a difficult day, but remember that each one will get easier.
During special occasions
You might not feel like marking special occasions in the first year after your loved one’s death, but these feelings will diminish as time goes by. Celebrations like Christmas, anniversaries and birthdays will get easier as time goes by. Finding a way to include the individual in the special occasion can make it easier to move on. Keeping a memorial keepsake in your home will help you to keep their memory close and take a moment to reflect when you need it the most.
Memorials in your home might be too painful when the loss is fresh, but you will soon find that you are more open to memories than you were in the past. After some time has passed, keepsakes around your home will become a great source of comfort and will enable you to reflect on the fond memories, not just the pain of your loss.