Create a memory table with photos and items that reflect your loved ones.
Create a photo collage – it can be as simple as putting photos on a poster to display at the service or a bit more complicated as a power point presentation.
Letter writing is a way to begin the process of working through your grief. Ask family and friends to bring a letter to the deceased to the service. The letters can be placed in the casket of the deceased prior to burial or cremation. At the service of our beloved son-in-law, we placed a large sheet of white paper on the wall at the entrance to the chapel. We provided colored markers and family and friends wrote personal messages to him. We rolled up the paper and placed it in the casket – the messages were cremated with him.
Flowers are a very traditional expression of sympathy. Ask your family and friends to bring a flower to the service; you can create a large bouquet that will be present during the ceremony. If you have selected cremation and are scattering the remains at sea, in a river or lake, each person can toss their flowers into the water when the cremated remains are scattered.
If you choose a church or cemetery service, you can have music, a butterfly or balloon release. If you have selected cremation, you can do the same things at a memorial service. Create a printed program, place an announcement in the paper, distribute favors. Choose things from the person’s life that you know gave them particular pleasure, perhaps a favorite poem and some of their favorite music. In advance, ask those who knew them well to prepare small individual eulogies that recall good things about them that can be read out loud during the ceremony.
The enduring spirit that has moved gently on to another place may be envisioned as a flame in the darkness, and you may feel it appropriate for everyone to light a candle symbolizing this spark of eternity.
You may wish to gather at your loved one’s favorite restaurant or have a picnic at a favorite park. A remembrance ceremony may be an appropriate time to plant a tree in celebration of your loved one’s life. Tell your loved one’s story.
You can design a tasteful shrine, wear a remembrance wrist band, wear somethng that belonged to your person who died, create a memory quilt, keep a journal. There are yard stones to be inscribed with our loved one’s name and message. You can do such a simple thing as light a candle or an involved one such as climbing a mountain to write your loved one’s name in the book at the top.
Some friends of ours attended a memorial ceremony of their friend who loved to canoe. Friends and family gathered at the site of the favorite canoeing place. A small canoe had been constructed out of cardboard containing the cremated remains. Friends and family in canoes followed the paper canoe that was set on fire.