The anniversary of a loved one’s death is usually a day of grief and reflection for the people who were an important part of the deceased person’s life. Despite the pain that a death anniversary can bring, it’s also an opportunity to reminisce. It’s a chance to think about the fond and funny moments your treasured person brought to your life and thank them for the good times.
There is no single way to mark a death anniversary. Today is an opportunity to honour and thank your loved one for the gift they have given you and to celebrate the life they lived, in whatever way feels right.
We’ve put together 11 ways to honour a loved one on the anniversary of their death, if you’re looking for inspiration.
1. Revisit a special place
On your loved one’s death anniversary, you might find comfort in revisiting a special place you visited together. This could be somewhere you spent a lot of time together or simply shared some special moments. It might be a cafe, beach, hiking track, or perhaps a holiday spot.
Being present, at a physical place that meant something to the both of you, can be a tangible way to relive precious moments shared. So soak in the atmosphere and let the sights and sounds fill you with fond memories.
2. Have a picnic or share a meal
Hosting a picnic or a sit-down meal at a favourite restaurant can also be a great way to reconnect with family and friends to mark a loved one’s death anniversary. You can choose to have certain food or drinks involved. Maybe your loved one had a favourite cuisine?
Raising a glass and making a toast can also be a nice way to honour them.
3. Gather friends and family for a death anniversary memorial
Gathering friends and family is another way to ensure you are not alone on a loved one’s death anniversary. It might be a casual catch-up with a few family members, or a more elaborate memorial service. Simply having people around you today can make the world of difference.
The gathering doesn’t need to be a formal ceremony. It might be a game of backyard cricket, a family barbecue with some photo slideshows, or a beach picnic with your loved one’s favourite music playing.
Just like a memorial at the time of passing, an anniversary memorial can take any form that celebrates the deceased person’s life, in the way they lived it.
4. Death anniversary memorial service
If you would rather arrange a more formal memorial service for your loved one’s death anniversary, think about how you might add some personalisation to the event. In the same
It could be an intimate memorial with immediate family, or a larger gathering of all the friends and family who were important in your loved one’s life. Read our ultimate guide to planning a memorial for some more ideas.
Bare Cremation would be honoured to help plan a befitting memorial service ceremony – whether that’s entirely family-led, or with our dedicated celebrant team. You can find out more on our Bare Memorial webpage here, or feel free to give us a call on 1800 202 901.
5. Plant a memorial tree
Did your loved one enjoy the outdoors, or have a special place in their garden? If so, why not plan a memorial tree planting ceremony that celebrates their life while creating a living memory? You can then gather around the memorial tree each anniversary as the tree grows over the years.
6. Support a charity
Was your loved one involved in a not-for-profit organisation, or did they receive support from a charity? You might honour that contribution on their death anniversary.
Charity support does not always have to be financial. It could be something as simple as volunteering or helping out with a fundraiser. This gesture would ensure the legacy of your loved one is passed down and others can appreciate their giving spirit.
7. Create a photo memory book
A simple and easy way to mark a loved one’s death anniversary is to create a photo memory book. You may like to ask family and friends for some much-cherished photos of your loved one and compile these into a keepsake.
There’s also the option of producing a photo memory book for each member of the family or household, so you can share the memories and photos with one another.
8. Visit their final resting place
It’s common for family and friends to visit a deceased person’s final resting place with flowers on their death anniversary, to pay respects. It might be a cemetery or memorial park, if they were buried.
If your loved one was cremated and their ashes scattered someplace special, you might like to visit the scattering site and possibly even have lunch or a picnic there with family.
9. Facebook tribute post
The use of social media has significantly grown over the past few years. In modern times, a Facebook tribute post with lots of photos has become a common way to commemorate a loved one on their death anniversary. It’s a simple way to honour a loved one and encourage friends and family to share their photos, memories and messages of support and condolences.
The memorial tribute post does not need to be long for it to be meaningful. A few photos with a memory is often enough to spark reflection and encourage others to share their tributes.
10. Light a candle
Marking a loved one’s death anniversary does not always have to be a large gathering. You can still observe a meaningful reflection by yourself, in the comfort of your own home.
A simple and easy way to mark a loved one’s death anniversary is to light a candle in their memory. If their ashes are kept in an urn, you might light a candle beside it. You can even make the reflection more of a united memorial by arranging for friends and family to light a candle in their own homes, at the same time as you do.
While the glow of the candle lights the room, listen to your loved one’s favourite song and reflect on the wonderful moments you shared. Or simply sit down and watch their favourite film while the flame burns.
11. Plan a quiet day of reflection
Even though it has been a year, or several years, your feelings of grief may intensify on your loved one’s death anniversary and the days surrounding the date.
You may find it helpful to plan a day to reflect, remember, read, journal, exercise or relax; whatever you feel like doing.
You do not always have to do any major activities on this day regardless of what others are doing around you. Even taking a day off work could be useful if you feel like this will help you.
Final thoughts on honouring a loved one’s death anniversary
After a loved one passes away, it can be a difficult grieving process for many. Marking your loved one’s death anniversary can be upsetting, but it can also be a day surrounded by those who care for you the most. Despite the negativity a death anniversary can bring, there are many ways to make it a day filled with reminiscing and happy memories.
There is no right or wrong thing to do when marking a death anniversary, and you do not have to do anything at all if you wish.
At Bare, we would be honoured to support you in planning a befitting memorial ceremony – whether that’s entirely family-led, or with our dedicated celebrant team. Visit our website bare.com.au or call 1800 202 901.
Grief and bereavement support nearing a death anniversary
If you’re seeking grief or bereavement support, we’ve compiled a list of services across Australia here. If you are seeking grief support, speak to your health professional or reach out to the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement on 1800 642 066. Alternatively, call Lifeline’s Crisis Counselling service line on 13 11 14, or BeyondBlue on 1300 224 636.
At Bare, we know that grief is the price of love. It’s never easy, but we’ve created a number of free grief resources that may help you through this tough time.
You may also find the following articles helpful: