How to Keep Someone’s Memory Alive

Losing a loved one is devastating, but finding ways to feel connected to them even after death can help ease that pain. From keeping up with the hobbies of a friend who’s recently passed to crafting something special in honor of a late grandfather, there’s plenty of ways of remembering a loved one. So if you’re wondering how to keep someone’s memory alive, look no further. We’ve provided a list of things to do in memory of someone who died that will help you honor your loved one.

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Remembering A Loved One

Everyone will have a different way of remembering a loved one that works best for them. It might be lighting a candle in remembrance at church, or it might be making a memory quilt out of their old T-shirts. However, the best ideas for how to keep someone’s memory alive do the following:

  • Honor the deceased in a way they’d have liked.
  • Help you to grieve and process the death.
  • Encourage healthy behaviors in the grieving process and discourage unhealthy ones.
  • Work to reconnect you and other loved ones and cement community.

If you’re looking for specific memorial ideas, we’ve provided two lists of our favorites for you below.

Remembrance Ideas For Deceased

The following list is made up of ideas that focus on creating visual memorials for a deceased loved one. These memorials can be kept long term in your home or used for a memorial service.

Shadow Box Memorial

how to keep someone's memory alive with a shadow box

Shadow box memorials are perfect for holding small trinkets or memorabilia that remind you of those who have passed away. Pair the mementoes with special photos or poems for something you’ll always hold near and dear to your heart. For specifics on how to decorate your shadow box, see our resource on shadow box ideas.

Tribute Photo Book

Creating a tribute photo book for a loved one is not only a great memento for your family for years to come, but the project itself can be a helpful mourning practice. Finding the best old photos of your loved one and rediscovering fond memories will not only help keep their memory alive, but will help you as your grieve. Just remember to read our resource on how to make the perfect photo book before you start.

Things To Make Out Of A Loved One’s Clothing

If your loved one left behind old clothes that you’re struggling to part with, consider refurbishing some of their favorite garments. Larger T-shirts can be easily transformed into cozy pillows and smaller garments can be cut and resewn into things like blankets, cloth covered framed, or even teddy bears.

Memorial Photo Display

Memorial photo displays are perfect ways to keep your favorite photos of your loved ones front and canter. From small, delicate display frames to keep in the family room to more creative large displays, we’ve collected our favorite ideas for your in our DIY photo display resource.

Things To Do In Memory Of Someone Who Died

The following list is made up of activities to try when you’re not sure how to keep someone’s memory alive. These ideas can both help you grieve and reconnect you with your loved ones to help you mourn together.

Restore Their Old Photos

Gather family to help you collect and restore old photos of the person who passed away. The process will often stir up fond memories as well as teach you things you never knew about them. And once the restoration is done, make sure to check out our guide on what to do with old photos.

an old photo is restored to help keep a loved one's memory alive

Write a Poem in Honor of Them

Writing a poem is not only a loving gesture to the person who passed away, but it can help you think about your loss in a more abstract way. The poem doesn’t have to be perfect– just trying your best to express your feelings is a great way to honor a loved one and to help yourself grieve. And if it’s specifically a father who passed away, consider reading our resource on miss you Dad quotes and poems for help.

Donate to a a Special Cause

Whether your friend or family member was an environmental advocate or someone who regularly volunteered at the soup kitchen, donating your time or money to their favorite cause is a perfect way to honor their memory. Or, if they passed due to illness or disability, you can also donate to support research or therapy for others suffering from the same illness.

Plant a Tree or Garden Dedicated to Their Memory

Planting a tree or garden in remembrance of a loved one’s passing is a symbolic way of continuing the cycle of life. If you don’t have space on your own property for this, there are companies which will plant for you after a small donation. If you decide to make a garden, consider adding your favorite Bible verses about family to garden stones to make it a prayer garden.

how to keep someone's memory alive by planting a tree

Celebrate Their Birthday

Something as seemingly small as continuing to celebrate your loved one’s birthday even after their death is a great way to keep their memory alive. Invite all their friends and family and celebrate with their favorite foods and drinks. Then at the end, make a toast to their life and legacy.

Incorporate Their Favorite Meal or Family Recipe They Made into Holidays

Was the deceased known for making a special dish for Thanksgiving? Or did they always request the same unique dessert for their birthday? If so, consider incorporating that special meal into part of your family traditions, such as Christmas Dinner or Family Night.

Make a Book with the Stories of Their Life

Ask all the friends and family members that knew the deceased for their favorite stories of your loved one. Compile them into one large book, and share it with everyone else. Your family holidays will be extra special with a keepsake full of funny and sweet tales to tell of your loved one.

Make a Memory Quilt

Memory quilts are special quilts made out of old clothing or photos from the person who passed away. Memory quilts are best made with family working together to craft them. These help you recycle old possessions from your loved one that you may not be ready to give away, and they bring the whole family together. If you don’t have enough material, you can also preserve your loved one’s memory with a fleece photo blanket or custom woven blanket.

a memory quilt being made to honor a deceased loved one

Finish Projects They Were Working On

Was your loved one just about to finish a painting? Or were they building a treehouse for the grandkids? If they’ve left behind an unfinished project, helping to complete it after they’re gone makes for a perfect way to keep their memory alive.

Watch Their Favorite Movies or Read Their Favorite Books

Whether their favorite movie is The Notebook or Citizen Kane, hosting an annual movie marathon starring their favorites can help the whole family grieve together and make new memories that honor the deceased. And if they have a favorite book, add that title to your own bookshelf to read when you want to feel closer to them.

Write Them A Letter

A tried and true tradition for honoring a lost loved one comes in the form of a letter. Writing to them as if they’re still here and telling them how you’re feeling, what you’ve been doing, and anything else that comes to mind often helps you grieve. And if you’re looking for things to say, consider reading our list of family quotes.

Writing letter to a deceased loved one in order to keep their memory alive

Other Resources For How To Honor Someone

We hope that this resource on how to keep someone’s memory alive and list of remembrance ideas helps you find comfort through a painful time. If it’s not you but another friend or family member who needs comfort, we also want to help. Consider our additional sympathy and condolence guides below: