The first weeks and months of bereavement often pass by in a blur. As the dust begins to settle, you may decide that you would like to hold a memorial service to celebrate the life of your partner and to honour their memory. This may be an opportunity to gather together friends and family, former colleagues and school friends and neighbours who may not have been able to come along to the funeral at short notice. It is a chance to think creatively about how you would like your loved one to be remembered by others.
Memorial services can be held anywhere – from church halls to community centres and from restaurants to beauty spots. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable about the venue – and that you have the chance to organise a fitting celebration of your loved one’s life.
The actual service can be as long or short, as formal or informal as you like. What actually happens at the memorial service is completely up to you. You can play music. You can read out poems. You can invite friends and family members to talk about their favourite memories of your partner. You can show pictures or video clips. Or you can simply eat, drink and talk. Anything is possible.
You may decide to hold a memorial several months after the funeral – or even a year. It can be helpful to choose a significant date such as an anniversary or a birthday. Many WAY members have found that organising a memorial, although it’s a labour of love, can be very comforting experience – helping to make sense of your partner’s life and to draw comfort from friends and family who are also mourning their loss.
There’s also a vast array of virtual memorial sites where you can honour the memory of your loved one and keep their memory alive online. You can post photographs, videos, songs, poems and share memories of your partner with friends and family.
On websites like Gone Too Soon, you can create and maintain a free memorial website where friends and family can pay their tributes.
The child bereavement charity Winston’s Wish also has a special website where young people can post memories of their loved ones in a starscape.