The other day, I had a conversation with someone who was looking to do something meaningful to honor a loved one who had passed away, particularly due to unresolved emotions stemming from the relative's funeral. I've put together a list of ideas that I really felt compelled to share with everyone, in case you've gone through a similar experience. Some of these are things I've personally carried out for my own family members, while others are approaches, I've used when coordinating bereavement support in a hospice setting.

1. Create a memory book, scrapbook, or collage filled with photos, stories, and mementos.
2. Create a memory video of pictures to their favorite music. I have a Mac, so I used ScreenFlow, but there are other programs out there that do the same thing.
3. Plant a tree in their memory through the Arbor Day Foundation ( or A Living Tribute ( I used the Arbor Day Foundation while working in hospice. You have the option of either downloading the certificate immediately, or having it mailed to you.
4. Plant a garden in their memory in your back or front yard.
5. Light a candle in remembrance on significant dates.
6. Dedicate a bench or plaque in a place she loved, such as a park, zoo, or other special place. Some places offer opportunities to purchase bricks or plaques for sale to honor loved ones, such as outside Diamondbacks Stadium and the Phoenix Zoo. You can also have a brick or stone engraved and place it in your own garden. I have a memorial stone in my back yard that was made for our dog who died several years ago.
7. Support a cause or charity that was important to them, such as an animal foundation where you could:
a) Volunteer or
b) Make a charitable donation.
8. Organize a fundraising event or charity drive in their honor or create a account to raise money for their favorite charity.
9. Participate in a memorial walk, run, or event in their honor. For example, I participated in the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in honor and memory of my mom.
10. Write a letter to them to express your thoughts and feelings of gratitude.
11. Create a piece of art or craft that represents their memory.
12. Compile a playlist of their favorite songs.
13. Host a memorial dinner or gathering with family and friends and cook their favorite foods.
14. Hold a Celebration of Life event at your home where you can share stories, photos, or memories of them with friends and family.
15. Participate in an annual group celebration of life or candle lighting ceremony.
16. Create an annual scholarship or award in their name.
17. Keep a journal to write about your special memories and thoughts of them.
18. Dedicate a day each year to celebrate their life and legacy.
19. Frame a meaningful quote, poem, or verse in their honor.
20. Engage in an activity they enjoyed, such as hiking, painting, or playing music.
21. Keep a photo of them in a special place in your home. I also have a digital photo frame that stores hundreds of photos that circulate through on a timer. I used the Aura Carver 10.1 WiFi Digital Picture Frame on Amazon. You can sync it with your phone. There are many others as well.
22. Hold a lantern lighting ceremony in their memory.
23. Create a memory box or shadow box with keepsakes, jewelry, or other meaningful objects.
24. Write a memoir or short story about their life and impact.
25. Write a poem or song dedicated to their memory.
26. Display a piece of their artwork, poetry, or writing if they were artistic in that way.
27. Create a memory jar and have family members write down favorite memories of them to put in the jar.
28. Create a recipe book of their favorite recipes.
29. Create a digital memorial page to post pictures and stories. I created one on and then sent the link to family members. This is where I stored the video that I create for my husband’s Celebration of Life so family and friends would always have access to it. It’s a one-time fee.

As you contemplate how to pay tribute to your loved one, take into account their hobbies, passions, and skills. These could be tied to their beloved sport or team, a unique talent such as art or music, or a cherished location they enjoyed. The options are limitless.

Author's Bio: 

Kay Fontana, founder of Healing Our Grieving Hearts, has been a life coach for over 18 years providing support to numerous individuals, and serving as a Grief Recovery Specialist since 2015. Following the passing of her husband of four decades in 2023, she realized the importance of utilizing the tools she had acquired to aid her own healing process. With certifications as a Life Force Coach and Qigong Instructor in the Flow Form with the Satori Method, as well as being a Reiki Master, EFT Practitioner, and Licensed Spiritual Practitioner, Kay guides individuals on their journey of grief recovery and purpose discovery, while integrating energy healing and spiritual support to foster holistic well-being as part of their transformative healing path.