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12 ways to honor a loved one’s life

honoring a loved one

Finding a way to honor your loved one holds many benefits. It can bring loved ones together, create the opportunity for closure, and a way to celebrate their life. Your loved one may have left wishes on how they want their life to be honored. If not, you may choose to celebrate their life, this may be alone or with others. Below we will discuss ways to honor your loved one’s life that in addition to–or instead of– a traditional funeral. 


Getting outside for fresh air is beneficial for the grief process as it helps clear the mind, and regenerate your heart with love and confidence. Consider planting a tree to honor their life so you can watch their life continue to grow with the tree. How about planting a memorial garden with some of their favorite flowers or flowers that are associated with grief and loss? Adding a bird feeder or some butterfly friendly flowers and plants will encourage signs from the afterlife as well. 

2. Make a donation

More commonly donations are requested in lieu of flowers after a death. Donations however can be made at any time to any organization you or your loved one chooses. Some examples include (but of course not limited to) health research and care organizations, public libraries, schools, and animal rescues. These donations are a beautiful way to honor their life while making a difference in the lives of others. 

3. Take a visit to the beach

Make a trip to a beach to spend some time reflecting on your beloved’s life and the memories you have with them. With the heartache you are experiencing, write their name on the sand and watch it wash away into the beautiful ocean. As it washes away, may it wash away some of your pain and grief. 

Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.”

grief is like the ocean quote

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4. Watch the sunrise or sunset

Take time to slow down, breathe, and appreciate the world around you. We tend to live day to day without acknowledging the beauty in each day. There is something special about watching the sky change–our own view of Heaven. It is known that the sunrise will help bring you hope and the sunset will help bring you peace, all while giving you a better sense of gratitude for the world and life around you.

5. Star gaze

The sky can provide you with comfort and help ease a lot of stress and anxieties. Sit back, look to the sky, and take slow deep breaths. Stargazing provides us an outlet into the world that lies beyond this life. It can also give us a new perspective on things as it makes us think and accept the unknown. Next time you look to the sky, trust that one of those stars in your loved one looking back at you.

6. Get a nice door knocker

The saying is ‘home is where the heart is’ but what if you are coming home to a place where your beloved is no longer? Each time is heartbreaking. Why not visit an antique store and pick up a door knocker that makes you smile? That way every time you come home you see the knocker, you’ll see them, smile, and be reminded of their love.

7. Write a letter

Expressing your feelings and thoughts on paper can be a powerful way to honor your loved one. You may want to write a farewell letter, a letter of a memory, or just a letter to update them on life here on Earth. Writing is known to help with grief–acknowledging and working through it. Read a Letter from Heaven to hear from your pet again.

journal writing prompts

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8. Take a pottery class

Whether or not you’ve taken a pottery class before, it can be fun for all those at any experience level. You can make a vase for flowers that remind you of them or even create an urn. Talk to your local potter as they may have options for you to include your loved one’s ashes in the making of the piece. Pottery allows you to honor them through the beauty of your creation as well as through a new skill and experience.

9. Wind chimes

Your beloved may no longer be here but they will continue to surround you. Hang a set of wind chimes outside (or inside) and know that every time the wind blows they are there right there with you. There are many different types of wind chimes to choose from. You may want one from your favorite vacation spot or that includes your favorite color.

10. Have a memorial keepsake created

Preserve your pet or loved one’s hair and/or ashes in a custom memorial keepsake that features strong visuals of the remains. These keepsakes can be customized to truly capture your beloved’s personality. This is such a beautiful way to honor them by carrying them close to your heart, and a way to continue to go on adventures with them.

memorial keepsakes

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11. Tribute video

Everyone has stories and memories with your loved one. Why not consider compiling these memories in one place and have a tribute video created? This is a beautiful way to honor them and their life for many years and generations to come. 

12. Gratitude and memory capsule

Honor your beloved with a shadow box or jar filled with pieces of paper. On these pieces of paper you can write memories you have with your loved one or experiences you have had in their memory. Take time to write some notes on what you are grateful for and things you are thankful to have learned or experienced with/from them. 

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