Keeping memories alive
The flowers have been chosen, the eulogy written and the order of service finalised; once the funeral is over, our thoughts naturally turn to how we are going to keep the memory of our loved one alive. After what probably seems like a very busy and full on few weeks or months, we can start to allow ourselves time to think about the opportunities.
Keeping memories alive is something we’re passionate about here at Austin’s. In fact, the late John Austin – the ninth generation of our family to run Austin’s Funeral Directors – took it upon himself to build and run Harwood Park Crematorium and Memorial Gardens, because he couldn’t find one crematorium in the country that was truly centred on the needs of the bereaved and their loved ones.
As a result, Harwood Park has become a place of peace, tranquility and reflection where you can come and remember your loved ones within beautiful Hertfordshire countryside. There are various ways you can create a memorial here. You might like to have a seat or bench within the memorial gardens, a dedicated tree or shrub, or a plaque or stone memorial within the rose garden.
Perhaps you shared your own special place with your loved one where you might be able to install a bench, or your could plant a rose in your back garden. Think outside the box; there are a myriad of unique ways to celebrate someone’s life.
Creating the perfect memorial
If your loved one has been cremated, there is no rush to decide what to do with their ashes. You may like to have the ashes at home with you for a while, before you choose to bury them at a cemetery or churchyard, or to scatter or bury them in a more personal or private location.
It’s also nice to be able to gather with friends and family in a less formal environment than the funeral, to bury or scatter the ashes at a later date and in the way you want.
Don’t rush your decision; make sure it’s the right one for you and your family. If you want to drive to the coast for a day and scatter the ashes into the sea, you may then want to create a more permanent memorial elsewhere that you can visit. If you decide to bury the ashes, an accompanying stone or plaque will make sure you always have somewhere to go and be with your loved one.
Of course, there are always the more obscure options! Some people have given their loved ones a spectacular exit with an organised fireworks display. The ashes are added to fireworks and fired off into the sky in an ultimate celebration of life!
You can also have ashes made into memorial jewellery. The ashes are added to colourful glass beads, which you can set into pendants for bracelets or necklaces. Moreover, ashes can also be made into a diamond. The carbon is extracted and compressed at a high temperature to enable the molten material to reform to its natural state, before being cut and polished.
For those brave enough to attempt a sky dive, there is a company that can take the ashes and release them into the air at the start of the dive – and you can join them on a tandem dive if you wish!
Something that is becoming more and more popular is a living memorial, or memorial planting. This incorporates ashes into the soil to return a loved one to nature. The plant you choose to grow can also match their personality.
Keeping them with you now and always
In the months and years after your loved one’s passing, you’ll find that you develop your own unique ways of keeping their memory alive. You might decide to…
- Make a keepsake: Cushions or teddy bears made of people’s clothing are popular, as is the idea of framing something that was very special to your loved one, such as a football shirt
- Wear something of theirs: Whether it’s a piece of jewellery or a much loved watch that you can have repaired and put on a new strap for everyday use
- Support a cause: Was there a charity close to your loved one’s heart? Could you make a donation in their honour or take part in a fundraising event?
- Keep talking about them: Share their photos and stories with friends old and new
- Start a tradition: What would be a great way to continue celebrating their birthday every year? Setting off balloons or going for a family walk around their favourite place will continue to make an event of the important days in your loved one’s life.
There’s an anonymous quote that says: “When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.” However you decide to honour the memory of your loved one, know that you will be able to take comfort from that treasure for many years to come.