A funeral service is an important part of the grieving process for most people. Usually it is the time where the deceased’s friends and family unite to celebrate the life of the individual who has passed, and some report that it is the time where they are able to finally accept the loss of their loved one.
For various reasons, many people decide to memorialise someone they loved permanently, offering a physical reminder of the person which is more accessible and often less sombre than a grave. However, choosing a memorial for someone can carry a lot of emotional weight, so it’s important to consider the pros and cons of your chosen memorial before committing to it.
An Engraved Memorial Bench
A bench featuring an engraving dedicated to the person who has died is a popular choice for a memorial. This option can be arranged through most local councils for benches to be placed in a public park, but many privately owned estates also offer memorial benches.
|Could be placed somewhere that was meaningful to the deceased|
|Could be placed somewhere beautiful and peaceful where you can go and reflect|
|Gives friends and family a place to go to pay respects other than a graveyard|
|X||The bench would be very personal to you but it would be for public use. Would you be upset if you saw strangers sat on the bench when you went to visit it?|
|X||Some people feel uncomfortable sitting on a memorial bench, as if they are standing on someone’s grave, and others feel they are an eyesore in areas of natural beauty|
|X||High risk of vandalism, damage, chewing gum stuck underneath etc.|
|X||Land owner has ultimate control and can decide to remove the bench at any time|
Planting a Memorial Tree
Planting a tree in remembrance is also an increasingly popular choice for a memorial. Memorial trees can be arranged with some councils and public estate owners or planted on your own land. There is also the possibility of mixing the ashes of the deceased with the soil, for the new tree’s roots to absorb.
|A new tree can represent the circle of life. When ashes are added to the soil many find peace knowing that part of the person they loved is living on through something else|
|Freedom to plant in your own home means you can hang decorations, photos, and messages from the branches|
|Memorial trees in public parks will be maintained by the park gardeners and are less likely to be vandalised than a bench|
|X||If you plant the tree on your own land, it could cause complications if you decide to move in the future|
|X||If it is planted in a public park, the council could decide to move it or uproot it completely|
|X||It could be at high risk of weather damage, especially if you are planting a fresh young tree|
An online memorial (also known as an internet memorial) is a new phenomenon that is quickly increasing in popularity. There are many memorial sites to choose from where you can set up a page dedicated to your loved one. You can then upload photos, write about their life, allow others to post messages and even light virtual candles on the page.
|Some websites offer basic pages completely free of charge|
|A webpage is easy for you to access anywhere, from the privacy of your own home or while out and about|
|It’s a great option if the deceased had lots of friends and family abroad, as it offers these people somewhere they can easily go and share their memories and messages|
|X||If you choose a premium service, there could be a regular charge that is required to keep the page online|
|X||You may need to spend quite a bit of time setting up the page and monitoring the messages that come in to ensure nothing inappropriate is posted|
|X||An online memorial is less accessible to those who are not confident using a computer and navigating the internet|
Setting up a charity in their name
There are several reasons why people might decide to set up a charity in the name of someone who has died. Perhaps it’s for a cause that the deceased felt passionate about, or perhaps its to raise awareness of an illness or condition that led to their death.
|Raises awareness of an issue that was close to the heart of the person who died|
|If family members do not wish to accept donations, they can direct those who wish to donate to the charity instead|
|Potential to raise money for a worthy cause|
|X||Setting up a registered charity requires a lot of hard work, similar to setting up a small business. You must be legally registered and complete full tax returns for the charity each year|
|X||Donating in the person’s name to an already established charity instead could make the money go further, as they will already have the infrastructure in place to spend the money efficiently|
Creating a gemstone made from ashes
There are many services across the country that will compress ashes into diamonds and other gemstones, which can be set into a custom and incredibly personal piece of jewellery. Only a small amount of ash is needed, so you can still choose to keep the majority in an urn or scatter them if you prefer.
|The ashes can be transformed into beautiful gems of any colour which can be incorporated into all kinds of unique jewellery|
|Jewellery can be taken with you wherever you go, essentially meaning you always have a part of your loved one with you|
|Can make a touching gift for a grieving family member or partner|
|It is possible to combine more than one person’s ashes into a gem, thus uniting two people in memorial|
|X||If damaged or lost, this jewellery would be irreplaceable|
|X||If the jewellery is on show, others may compliment it and ask questions about it, would you be comfortable explaining the deeper meaning of the jewellery to others?|
|X||The process is delicate, and an inexperienced practitioner may make a mistake and need to start again, wasting the ashes that have been used so far|
The concept of a memorial tattoo goes back hundreds of years, but recently it is increasing in popularity as tattoos in general become more common. A memorial tattoo can be something completely unique and personal to yourself or could match with other people. Some practitioners even offer to mix ashes with the ink.
|A unique memorial which can incorporate ashes of your loved one (there are currently no health warnings against doing this via an experienced practitioner)|
|A tattoo is with you everywhere you go, so the memorial is also always with you, you do not have to travel somewhere to visit it|
|It can be personalised to suit the individual that it represents, and can be replicated for other friends or family members who want the same tattoo|
|X||Tattoos can be painful to get, and there is always a slight risk of infection even if you are diligent with your aftercare|
|X||As the memorial is attached to you permanently it cannot be passed down through generations. If you decided to incorporate ashes into the tattoo, these will be lost when you eventually pass.|
|X||A tattoo is permanent and you cannot change the design of the memorial once it has been done.|
Every type of memorial has its pros and cons, and there’s no perfect solution for everybody. At the end of the day it comes down to the unique preferences and personality of the individual being memorialised.
With Age Co Funeral Plans, you can highlight wishes such as these in your plan, so as to leave your loved ones with some advice on what kind of memorial you would prefer, if any. The cost of the memorial service won't be included in your plan, but the essential services will be, so your family can focus on organising these special, personal extras.