How to Memorialize a Loved One Who Asked for No Funeral

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Everyone mourns differently, and everyone wants to be memorialized differently when they die.

For some people, this means asking their friends and family to not go to the trouble of planning and hosting funeral services.

As one of those people left behind, it can be difficult to think about sending your loved one off from this earthly life without a gathering of family and friends, where you remember and celebrate the life of the person you’ve lost.

This situation may leave you wondering: How can I memorialize a loved one who asked for no funeral?

Does There Have to Be a Funeral?

Funerals are not mandatory celebrations. 

Some deceased don’t want their family and friends to have to go to the trouble or expense of planning a funeral, as costs for these celebrations can range in the tens of thousands of dollars. Others may feel uncomfortable asking people to pay that much attention to them, even in death.

And while this request seems logical to the person who is deceased, it can be a very difficult, painful ask for those who remain and who want to gather to celebrate their loved one.

Ultimately, deciding whether or not to hold a funeral for someone deceased comes down to two guiding principles: a person’s final wishes should be honored and funerals are for the living.

In many cases, the living make promises to those who are dying in an attempt to alleviate the person’s fear of dying. This can mean telling the person that you’ll take care of their dependents, protect certain assets, or honor their memory once they’re gone.

Whenever possible, it’s important to keep our promises to the dead, as long as keeping that promise is possible, reasonable, and won’t hurt anyone.

This promise, though, should also be balanced with the realization that funerals are for the living. They’re a way for all those left behind to gather, grieve, and remember the person they won’t see again.

If your loved one has made you promise not to host a funeral, but you still feel compelled to have some sort of gathering to honor their memory, there are some things you can do.

How to Remember Your Loved One Without a Funeral

For those cases where the deceased has requested no funeral service but you want to do something to honor their memory, here are some things you can consider:

Host a Small Gathering for Family and Friends

Instead of a formal funeral or memorial service in a separate venue, consider simply gathering family and friends for a celebration to remember the person who died.

This can be as informal as inviting everyone over for dinner, or you can plan a small party where everyone gathers to share stories and raise a toast to the deceased.

Plant a Tree

Many people opt to plant something living as a way to keep their loved one’s memory alive while also creating something beautiful.

If the deceased had a favorite type of flower, or loved trees, consider planting them somewhere that was important to them, or that’s important to you. You even could distribute seedlings of the same tree or shrub to everyone to whom the person who died was important, and collect photos of everyone planting their remembrances for a photo album.

Celebrate Milestones

Your remembrance of your loved one doesn’t have to be immediate; instead, you can memorialize them with a gathering on their next birthday or on the anniversary of their death.

This celebration can mean gathering everyone at a restaurant for dinner and cake to celebrate a birthday, or hosting a party, or even taking a trip annually to a place that was important to the person who passed. 

Create a Memory Album

Often, it is our fear of losing all the good memories with someone who died that drives the desire to hold a memorial service.

To help keep the memory alive and well, collect photos, videos, and stories from everyone who loved the person and create either a physical memory book, or something digital. Distribute copies to everyone, and even allow people to create their own sections.

This remembrance will be a lasting testament to the person’s life and to all the people they loved, something everyone can go back to for years to come.

Memorial Markers in Maryland

If you and your family are looking for a high-quality, lasting way to remember your loved one, look no farther than Merkle Monuments in Maryland. For decades, we’ve provided exceptional customer service and memorial markers to families across the state, allowing them to keep their loved ones’ memories alive for generations. Get your project started today!