Suggestions for a Memorial on the Anniversary of a Loved One's Death

Updated April 17, 2017

The anniversary of a loved one's death is usually a difficult and emotional time. Often, families and friends of the deceased gather together to remember their loved one, celebrate his life, and support each other through this heart wrenching event. There are many ideas that can help people pay tribute to their loved one on the anniversary of their death.

Location and Setting

The location of a memorial service greatly impacts the atmosphere and mood of the event. Traditional services tend to be held in churches, temples, or other religious institutions. Many people, however, choose to have more secular, laid back memorial services. A quiet, outdoor spot, such as a beach, riverside, or park, provides a reflective, peaceful background for family and friends to gather. Consider the interests of the person who is being remembered. A golf fanatic may have wanted you to meet at a golf range, while an art aficionado would have preferred an art gallery.


Family and friends at the memorial service may find that reading something helps them express their feelings. Reading a personally written letter or note can help release feelings and thoughts about the loved one, as well as their passing. Reading's don't have to be written personally: often finding a biblical scripture, prayer, or poem is just as effective at conveying a message of love and loss. For a unique take, attendees can look for a children's book that expresses how they feel.

Share Memories

With family and friends gathered together, a memorial service provides the perfect opportunity to share memories of your loved one's life. At some memorial services, guests may wish to share personal stories and memories in a warm group conversation. A memory book, in which each guest writes their own note to the deceased or a special memory, helps collect highlights from the person's life. Writing a note to the loved one, tying it to a balloon, and letting it go can be a sweet way to send them a message, especially at a memorial service with children.


Music is a way to bring people together and express emotion, two things that play a pivotal role in memorial services. Attendees can listen to recorded songs on CDs that were favourites of the deceased or are fitting tributes. Musicians or those who feel compelled to make the ceremony more personal can even perform their own music. An interactive group may choose to sing together.

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About the Author

Lauren Griffin began writing professionally in 2010. Her articles appear on various websites, specializing in academics, food and other lifestyle topics. Griffin attended Columbia University and holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology.