60 Ways to Honor the Deceased

Andrea Davis

3 min read

My guess is that you’ve probably already found personal ways of honoring the person you have lost. There are traditional ways, like a funeral or memorial. But you’ve probably found small, very personal ways too – things like talking to them in the car or drinking out of their favorite coffee mug. Research has actually found that these individual, private rituals are surprisingly helpful in grief.

Grief is ongoing – this is one principle that is acknowledged by grief theorists, grieving professionals, and grieving people alike. The theory of continued bonds suggests that many people find comfort and connection through actions and rituals that help them honor deceased loved ones. And these connections evolve and change with time, just as we change. The thing that brought comfort in year one may be something completely different than in year six.

If you’ve found yourself looking for new or additional ways to feel closer to your loved one(s), this list offers a range of ideas to honor deceased loved ones - from your everyday life routines to physical remembrances to travel and beyond. I know you have many more ideas that aren't on this list - please send a comment and share your thoughts and what you would add to this list.

1. Light a candle.

2. Visit the place (or places) they grew up.

3. Put together a grant or a scholarship in dedication to them.

4. Share a story of why a random moment in the day reminded you of them.

5. Pause to recognize things and moments they would have loved. Share on the hashtag #wouldhavelovedthis “Glitter moments”

6. Write a poem about them.

7. Curate a memorial space or altar in your home.

8. Create a memoir of your relationship.

9. Adapt a small detail of their routines into your own.

10. Buy or grow their favorite flower or plant.

11. Leave an empty chair that was theirs around your house or at your holiday table.

12. Advocate for a project or movement that was related to the cause of your loss.

13. Plan a time for a celebration of their life.

14. Design a memorial trinket (a collage, holiday decor, office decor, etc).

15. Overlay their handwriting onto a photo.

16. Look over their old photos with family or friends.

17. Join a grief support group.

18. Create a memory garden in your yard.

19. Wear a memorial bracelet (can be their name, a quote, a symbol, etc).

20. Do a genealogy of their family (and/or make and display their family tree)

21. Build something in their honor, like a memorial bench.

22. Teach someone else something they taught you.

23. Watch their favorite movie.

24. Capture a picture of the moment in your day when you are reminded of them.

25. Recreate or order their favorite dish.

26. Start or continue a tradition in their memory.

27. Create six-word stories of your memories.

28. Plan a get-together to share memories.

29. Volunteer for a cause that had impacted their life.

30. Write a letter to them.

31. Serve their favorite cocktail, wine, or other drink at special occasions.

32. Share their recipes with their name attached to the dish’s title.

33. Paint a grief art piece.

34. Travel to a place they always wanted to visit but did not get the chance to.

35. Give a toast in their memory at family gatherings.

36. Dedicate a shelf for their book collection.

37. Make a shadow box or a memorial keepsake of their belongings.

38. Have their voice recordings installed onto an item (like a teddy bear).

39. Finish their incomplete project(s).

40. Produce a quilt from their clothes.

41. Write a song or a lullaby about them.

42. Get a memorial tattoo (such as an image, their handwriting, or their name).

43. Have their handwriting engraved on a piece of jewelry.

44. Visit someone or the people that knew them.

45. Try out their favorite activity or hobby.

46. Use phrases or expressions they used to say.

47. Visit their final resting place.

48. Read their favorite book.

49. Journal your sensory memory of them.

50. Keep something of theirs close by.

51. Share their photos.

52. Design a home decor or belonging that presents their favorite sayings or quotes. It can be on a shirt, pillow, mug, or frame etc.

53. Advocate for policy changes.

54. Develop a playlist of music they would have loved.

55. Make a memorial website.

56. Plant a tree.

57. Listen to one of their favorite songs or albums.

58. Create a memory jar.

59. Make a donation to a particular cause in their name.

60. Attend a grief camp.