For a little while I have toyed with the idea of writing about this. A lot of the people I’ve talked to say that having a place to go remember your loved one can be very soothing and therapeutic. I guess I don’t get it because I haven’t been affected by this directly.
But, for sake of this article, let’s open up the idea of creating a shrine, tribute or whatever you’d like to call it, somewhere in or outside of your home.
The first step in doing something like this, in my opinion, is being specific to the person. Think about what room in the house your loved one was most them in. Did they love their big screen tv? Were they a great chef in the kitchen? Did they love their backyard? Or were they most at home lying in bed with you? All of those factors need to be considered. Additionally, if there are other people who want to set up a memorial inside of your home, be sure to collaborate on an area in which everyone has access.
The next thing is what you put there. I think, in order to do a fitting tribute, it has to appeal to all the senses. Meaning, there should be things to look at, touch, smell, listen to and taste (maybe cooking their favorite food or snack whenever you decide to spend time there).
Pictures are always a good thing to have and could be a bonding experience for the other people morning your loved one. Make a collage and give every person working with you their own area to display the loved ones photos as they see fit. That way the different lights of which your loved one was viewed are always on display – which kinda makes your loved one even more present in the house.
Smells enhance the other senses and make memories vivid, in my opinion. Candles, an old shirt, or the cologne/perfume they would always wear are a great way to fulfill this sense.
I, personally, am a big fan of things I can touch. I think the way I learn about things come partially via that venue. Naturally, this would be a big part of the way I remember things as well. Nice things to touch can come from a variety of areas. To do this properly, I would look through your life together and try to decipher what the big moments were. Have things at the tribute/shrine/memorial that symbolize those events. If you loved to go to carnivals together, have something you won or bought on display. Like I said, the options are endless.
Things to listen to may be hard for some people to have present. As I have witness the sound of someone’s voice can trigger a very emotional experience. But, if this sounds like a component you would like to add, I would recommend looking through your videos and photos and getting a digital picture frame.
The idea of an outside memorial is kind of cool to me as well – simply because it can be redone year after year. Planting new flowers and new trees will allow a life to continue on. It’s a symbolic gesture that people can easily buy in to taking part.
I posted a couple photos of Lori’s memorial for Andrae to give people some ideas.
SOUND OFF: Have you created a memorial for your loved one? What things did you use? When are the times you spend a lot of time there? Do you ever spend too much time at the memorial you have created?
Post pictures and talk about what the thought process was in creating it on the Facebook page!