Alternative memorials and tributes : as the Alternative Celebrant , I am always excited when I discover an alternative way to look at, create, commemorate.
I aim to live my life as authentically as possible and I love to share my joy in the alternative, and the ‘ordinarily extraordinary‘
Alternative memorials and tributes:
When we say our final goodbye to someone we love it is usually when our grief is at its rawest or when we are still in shock. At the time we may find ourselves following the written requests of the person who has passed. Or compromising on our ideas to pacify or respect other family members and friends. Sometimes we feel pressured into following traditions and ideas that we think others expect of us. Hopefully the farewell is ‘perfect’.
As time passes we may start wishing we had said or done other things in our farewell. Or we may reach an anniversary that makes us want to reflect on the person. We may simply feel more ready. Or want to celebrate them again in the presence of other people who knew them.
It may be as simple as the time when the stone is ready to lay on the burial ground; or you feel its time to do something with your loved ones’ ashes.
Whatever reasons you have to create a memorial here are 9 alternative ideas that may help:
Celebrate their birthday or an anniversary with a party
It’s not at all weird to have a party where you gather all your friends and family to celebrate the life of someone no longer with you. you can keep it simple and just have an informal gathering. Or it can be more formal and involve speeches or even a celebrant. You may want to theme it! However you want to do it, gathering together and laughing , dancing, sharing is a good way to honour someone’s memory.
Visit a special place
Maybe you had a favourite café, bar, art gallery, beach that you went to? Why not go there with your family and friends and make a toast, say a few words , or sit round and share stories?
Create a new tradition
My neighbour had, in life, been a keep runner and part of a group that organised events. When he died, his family wanted to create a half marathon in his memory. This became an annual event; raising money for a charity close to their harts and providing an excuse for them all to have a family reunion.
Get a book printed
These days it is easy to create a personal biography or journal or photobook and get it published in small quantities (or just one) as a hardback book. Of course you can create scrapbooks and photo albums. You could also pull everything together in a professionally printed book.
You can use their old social media accounts to pull together a book automatically.
You could ask all their friends to provide an image and a memory and put them all together.
It can be as thin or thick as you like as wordy or picture filled as feels appropriate.
There are many natural burial grounds or wildlife areas that will allow you to put up or put up on your behalf, a wildlife box. If you or your loved one were passionate about nature then an owl box, bird box, bat box might be just the thing to honour their memory. It can even have a plaque.
Plant a tree or shrub (or seeds and bulbs)
In the same way as wildlife boxes, planting a tree or having a tree planted is a great way to honour the memory of a loved one. It also provides a location to go to where you might find comfort or speak with them. Personally I’d love everyone who loves me to throw a handful of bulbs or wild flower seeds into/onto a plot so that throughout the year there will be a place for of colour and fragrance in my memory.
Create a shrine
Without being creepy, its possible to have an area in your home. A shelf; on top of a piano; etc where you display pictures and the odd meaningful object that reminds you of your loved one. What’s nice about having a few objects on display is that they will occasional catch you eye and bring back a fond memory. Also visitors will ask about them and start a conversation and a walk down memory lane.
I have written before about Alternative things to do with Cremains.
Spread the ashes
Many people take the ashes to a location that has special meaning to them and scatter the ashes into the wind. Some people bury the ashes at a cemetery or natural burial ground. did you know there are also ways to scatter ashes at see, shoot them into spaces, set them off in a firework, incorporate them in a coral reef or simply mark a spot in your garden burying them or scattering them around a tree: for more details go to alternative things to do with Cremains.
Get creative with the ashes
As a creative person myself, some of my favourite ideas are art based. There are many artists , sculpture, jewellers, potters who will respectfully collect some of the ashes and incorporate them in a lasting memorial, for more details go to alternative things to do with Cremains.
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