Funeral anniversaries can be different for everyone, some prefer to spend the time in quiet contemplation, while others choose to celebrate their loved one’s life with family gatherings and remembrance. In fact, the way you remember a loved one’s death and celebrate their funeral anniversary may change with every year that passes, so take a look at this list of ways to mark a funeral anniversary and see if there is one that inspires you.
1. Plant a tree in their honour
A funeral anniversary offers the perfect opportunity to celebrate your loved one's lasting memory and ensure it continues to live on. What better way to represent their legacy than a tree that will outlive us all?! A tree is an extra-special memorial, serving the Earth with oxygen and picturesque natural beauty, while also providing a quiet place for you to visit and reminisce. Some services even make tree seeds combined with your loved one's ashes.
2. Sponsor a seat at their favourite theatre, cinema or hall
Sponsoring a seat allows you to remember and celebrate your loved one's hobbies, interests or passions, whether it be musical theatre, Hollywood films or music. Many venues offer schemes that will allow you to sponsor a seat while also making a contribution to the maintenance and growth of the venue. Choose a plaque and engrave it with your loved one's name, and maybe a particularly resonant quote, before having it fitted to the back of a seat - so they can always have the best seat in the house!
3. Write your feelings down
With each year that passes after a death, our feelings change, new memories emerge and regrets pull on our heartstrings. One of the best ways to reflect on how your outlook and feelings have changed and evolved since their passing is to write them down.
Whether you enjoy writing poems, songs, blogs, or just a letter that never has to be read by anyone, it’s a therapeutic way to process feelings that can often feel overwhelming. If you feel your piece may help someone else going through similar emotions, why not post it online on a grief blog or a forum? This could connect you to others going through a similar situation, or at least give you the peace of mind that others may resonate with your words.
4. Listen to their favourite music
Music is another form of therapy and expression, and certain songs, such as favourite songs of a loved one or just music written by those grieving, can be particularly special to listen to on a funeral anniversary. Some songs seem to capture just the right thoughts, feelings and even memories, taking us back to special times in our lives. One simple way to mark a funeral anniversary is to serve yourself your loved one’s favourite drink, relax and listen to some of their favourite music.
5. Hold an anniversary ceremony
Whether you follow a certain faith or are not religious, a special ceremony can be a meaningful way to gather friends and family and celebrate a loved one’s life together. If you are religious you may want to include prayers for your loved one in your usual weekly service, while those who aren’t religious may want to try a tree-planting ceremony.
6. Create a memorial bird feeder
This is a particularly touching option if your loved one was a fan of nature and loved watching the birds in their garden. A bird feeder memorial can be engraved with a message celebrating their memory, while the feeder itself will provide sustenance and life-giving fuel to your local surrounding wildlife.
7. Create memorial jewellery
Another form of memorial, except entirely personal to you. Memorial jewellery allows you to celebrate a loved one’s favourite jewels, whether you invest in a piece made from their favourite gem, metal, or birthstone, or choose to re-work one of their old pieces into a more modern style. Many designers offer services that will craft antique jewellery into a piece that you can easily wear every day, allowing you to feel closer to the memory of your loved one.
8. Hold a firework display
A traditional religious tradition is to light a candle in the memory of a loved one, but this can be adopted by those who are not religious too. One spectacular way to shine a light on your loved one’s memory is to hold a firework display. Get family together for food and drink before organising for fireworks to light up the sky while you reflect on the loss.
9. Cook your loved one’s favourite dish
A funeral anniversary is a great time to remember everything about your loved one who has passed, and planning and cooking their favourite meal is sure to uncover plenty of fond memories about them that you thought you had forgotten. You could even make it a group event, inviting friends and family to get in on the fun too!
10. Look through old photographs
Old photo albums can often be overlooked, especially in the digital age. And yet, when you finally dig out those old albums it unlocks hours of reminiscing, laughter and unearthing forgotten memories. Why not invite friends around to go through your old albums and pick out your favourite pictures? Another great idea is to create a memory book filled with your favourite pictures that can sit in pride of place on your shelf.