While Memorial Day focuses specifically on honoring those who died while in the Armed Services, for some families it can be a time to honor and remember anyone in their lives who has died.

Children and adults who are grieving may worry they will forget things about the person who died — the sound of their voice, the smell of their hair, or the way their laugh echoed around the room. Many of the activities and questions we share with children at Dougy Center focus on helping them to hold onto the memories they have. Some children, especially those who were very young when the person died, don’t have many personal memories, so they rely on family and friends to tell them stories and share photos.

Here are some suggestions from families at Dougy Center on ways to honor and remember someone, either this Memorial Day weekend, or at any time that feels right to you.

  • Add plants to your garden or in pots that remind you of your person who died. Make special signs explaining the connection: “Pink tulips for our grandma who bought me a pink stuffed bunny.”

  • Paint or decorate a special box that you can fill with mementos, photos, or written memories.

  • Cook a meal of the person or people’s favorite foods. Write up the recipes on index cards and invite family and friends to use the other side to write down memories of times they shared these foods with the person.

  • Ask family and friends to write down stories about the person, especially things that you may not know. Many children and teens especially enjoy hearing about what the person was like at their age.

What other memorial traditions have you and your family created? Please share them on our Facebook page.