None of us like to think about the day that someone close to us dies, and when it does happen, the shock can be overwhelming.
But knowing what to do in advance - especially if it’s an anticipated death - can help relieve stress from an already stressful situation.
Case in point, how your loved one is to be memorialised.
While a personalised memorial mightn’t be as important as organising their affairs, closing accounts and planning a funeral, its power as a coping mechanism and way of mourning means it can’t be forgotten.
If you’re short on ideas, we don’t blame you. Here are a handful of clever ways you can give an upcoming funeral, wake or memorial that personal touch...
Poetry might not be as widespread as it once was. According to some statistics, consumption of poetry is at its lowest point ever.
If you ask us, however, that‘s actually one of the strengths of using poetry in your memorial!
You’ll have centuries of poetry to choose from for your memorial.
People have written poetry for almost as long as the written word has existed - they’ve written about all sorts of topics, including the loss of loved ones.
This gives you limitless material to express the emotions that come with losing a loved one or close friend.
Additionally, it also makes finding a poem that reflects your loved one's personality.
If the deceased was adventurous, then a free verse poem might be a suitable way of making your memorial reflect them.
Alternatively, if they had a wicked sense of humour, something like a limerick might do the trick.
A picture says a thousand words… so why not create a slideshow?
If you’re struggling to think of a way to give your loved one the send-off they deserve, why not use a slideshow or video?
The purpose of memorials such as obituaries and wakes is to celebrate the deceased’s life and keep their memory alive - photos and video are perfect for that.
Not only does this help communicate the deceased and their personality, but it’s also 100% unique - while someone else may have quoted the same poem, nobody else is going to have identical memories.
Need suggestions? Here are a couple:
Cover their entire life if possible
Give special attention to their passions
Think about what they were proud of and would want to share
Choose imagery that complements your speech (if you’re making one)
Think of it as reliving memories shared with the deceased. Reflection is an important part of the healing process.
Photos and video aren’t the only unique ways you can visually memorialise your loved ones.
If the deceased was an artist of sorts, you can think about putting some of their works on display. This creates a miniature gallery that showcases everything the deceased was passionate about.
Additionally, caricatures can bring some levity to proceedings - after all, there’s no law saying that wakes, funerals and memorials need to be sombre affairs.
When using art and caricature, it’s important to think about where they’re going to be placed. Should they be printed on the program? Note cards? Or on a memorial wall?
One new form of personalised memorial that’s starting to take off is online memorials.
Taking the form of online obituaries, videos and tribute pages, online memorials are a new way of paying tribute to a loved one.
Unlike the obituaries section of the local paper, online memorials give you complete control of how your loved ones are remembered.
Family stories, funny anecdotes, and moving tributes… you have complete control over the content.
This gives you the freedom to make your memorial 100% unique.
Private memorial pages can feature pictures, videos, jokes and even links to causes that they were passionate about to honour and celebrate their lives.
The loss of a loved one or friend can be a challenging time. Memorials make that time just a little bit easier.
If you’ve decided to make online memorials part of your mourning process, Memories™ offers intuitive, customisable online tributes.
We know this situation needs to be handled with grace and tact - whether you’re looking at a simple online obituary to a dedicated web page, Memories™ guarantees:
Private memorial pages
Secure, encrypted pages
An affordable one-off fee
Moderation by our staff
Make the memory of your loved ones last forever.
An Online Memorial is a web page honouring a loved one who has passed away. It contains a portrait of the departed, biographical information, memories shared by their loved ones, and a curation of photos and videos. Online Memorials can also host music and other audio.
Will Chitty, 52 years old, is based in the UK and sadly his Father, David Edward Chitty, passed away in 2020. Almost a year later, Will stumbled across Memories in a bid to collate all of the photos, videos, letters and other sentimental items he had into a coherent chronological Timeline which we could share with family and friends who live as far as Australia.
After many cathartic hours spent with his mother reminiscing over their loved one, Will is now proudly sharing the Online Memorial he has created and has chosen to be an advocate of the Memories platform in order to encourage others to do the same thing.
We spoke with Will recently who shared his reasons for joining Memories and what benefits he has seen.
Why did you choose Memories?
After my Father passed away I had a lot of fragmented memories of his life including old photos, videos, cine film and other items which were collecting dust at my Mother’s house. I started to fear that they might get lost or perish so I decided to create an Online Memorial. After a bit of searching I found a number of platforms, but Memories stood out to me because of its sleek design and cross-platform functionality. My friend also recommended Memories after he had built a Memories Timeline for his Grandmother so I thought I’d give it a go!
What has the experience been like?
I found the whole process incredibly easy and it was actually surprisingly fun. I reached out to some family members and all these images and videos came out of the woodwork which I hadn’t seen before. So, despite knowing him all these years I started to build an even better picture of my Father.
What I also liked about it was that I was able to collaborate with my brother who lives over in Australia. So despite being on the other side of the world to each other, I was also able to make other people contributors so that they could upload his own photos too. Some of the comments from family members had either been very touching or had me in stitches. I’ve noticed we’ve all kept in touch a little bit more as well now which is a bonus.
What was your relationship like with your Father
My Dad was a really good guy and I admired him so much. He was a ‘Man’s Man’ but he had an incredibly tough childhood. He was effectively orphaned after many years of abuse and was the first of his siblings to break that cycle. From this, he went on to become a successful business owner and a proud Father. With this story behind me, I find him to be an incredibly inspiring person whenever I think about what he went through. I often share stories of my Father with my children because I want them to remember him, as I feel it’s so important to hand down those kinds of messages and ways of thinking. They didn’t get a chance to meet him at a young age, so the great thing about his Online Memorial is that they can see what he used to look like and they can read stories about him from before they were born, so that they don’t just remember him as the old man they once knew. It feels like handing over the baton to them because they might be doing it for us some day.
The story my Kids love the most is when I talk about how my Dad used to have a pet Monkey! Although, Dad never used to let the truth get in the way of a good story, so who knows if it’s true or not.
Why are Online Memorials important?
I think it’s really important that our loved ones’ legacies live on and that you can document their lives because they have often achieved so much throughout their time. Social mobility was everything to my Father and he wanted to have a sense of achievement. He was very well respected in the community and that story deserves to be remembered. And it’s not just for us, it’s for my Kids, their Kids and their Kid’s Kids. Plus, it’s for all our family members who are scattered around the world. So, to build a respectful memorial to him is something that’s really important to me and the family.
I also like the peace of mind I now have knowing that everything is uploaded, backed up, safe and secure. So if there’s ever a fire or break-in I don’t have to worry because I have them stored on Memories.
What would your Father say if he could see the Memories Timeline you have built?
If Dad was able to see his life mapped out like that I’m sure he would be incredibly proud, because he was a very proud man. He loved the fact that he could create something from nothing. When we used to drive around the local area, he’d say ‘I built that’ and even though he’d never say to me and my Brother ‘I’m really proud’, you could tell that he was.
One of my most cherished items is my Dad’s old screwdriver which he gave me when I was a kid. To some it may seem simple but to me it means everything. It symbolises my Father as a builder and a creator. Whenever I hold it it feels like I’m holding his hand. So I took a picture of it and uploaded it to Memories so I could add it to the visual Timeline.
Having a Memories Timeline that celebrated all of his achievements, I’m sure would make him feel good about all that he’s done for us. I’m sure he’d probably be very embarrassed as well!
What was one of the features of Memories that stood out to you?
I liked the fact that if I was out and about and I found an old photo of my Dad which I hadn’t uploaded already, I could do it then and there rather than having to wait until I got back home. It’s the great thing about Memories having an App as well as a web-based platform. So I could upload the photo from my phone and then when I was back home I could look at it on the big screen on my computer, add any comments and share it with family and friends.
I also really liked the scanning tool because I have a few old letters of his and I was able to digitise them before they got any more wrinkled and ruined.
Would you recommend Memories to others?
Absolutely. The interface is really simple to use. It looks great and is very accessible. It doesn’t matter where you live, you can all come together for that shared experience. I really liked the ability to be able to make other contributors as it means we were able to get a broader sense of ‘The Man’ and it has brought us all closer together. It was only after I went on that trip down memory lane did other moments come to mind, times I had forgotten about, so it really put the memory of my Father into a positive place. I feel like we get funerals the wrong way around. Mourning is important but we should also be celebrating the life of these people and remembering all the good they did.
Within minutes of me sending out the Memorial link to the family, I received messages from people saying ‘Oh wow, isn’t this great!’ and ‘What an amazing man he was’. So, it feels good to know I have designed something not just for me but for everyone who knew my Father.
Not only this, knowing that people in the future can look back on us and remember us is quite a comforting thought.
If you want to watch Will Chitty’s video case study, follow the link here.
Create a tribute or memorial today.