The anniversary of the death of a loved one


Family and friends mark the anniversary of a death of a loved one in many ways. Some visit the cemetery, some gather for a meal and share memories, some reflect quietly at a favourite place that the deceased loved, for example.

Some don’t live nearby and are unable to visit the cemetery or be with family.

There is no right or wrong way to mark an anniversary but what is important, is to let the family know that you are thinking of them, especially on the anniversary.

When generations of families gather to remember and reflect about their loved one, why not create some new memories or traditions?

Here are some ideas for you to consider:

  • plant a tree in memory of the person – remember to take photos so you can record the growth of the tree on each anniversary
  • create a living memory in other ways such as building a garden path and placing a bench where you can sit, read, reflect and take comfort – whatever is meaningful to you
  • ask each person to write a poem or short story about their favourite memory and combine these in a book with some favourite photos for everyone to share. Print multiple copies as a loving keepsake
  • have a music afternoon – play favourite songs and remember wonderful moments
  • make a quilt from some of their favourite clothes – keepsake quilts are a warm and comforting way to keep you wrapped in love
  • if your loved one had a favourite event or local group, create an annual award in their honour
  • support a cause that was important to your loved one such as Cancer Council, the Heart Foundation etc
  • go for a favourite walk that you shared or visit a favourite place.

The ideas are endless so create or do something that is meaningful to you.

Be a good friend
Being a good friend is about letting those closest, know that you are thinking of them. Yes, it may bring tears, but it will also bring comfort and caring.  We can’t change the fact that a precious loved one has died but we can change the way we remember, support and share memories.

Article contributed by Joy Allen, an Independent Sydney based Funeral Celebrant, August 2019

5 comments on “The anniversary of the death of a loved one

  • I have found great comfort in being able to go to my partners memorial online to leave a message send a note or just say how things are going. It helps my get through. Plus it can reach family and friends all over the world
    Thanks to all the team behind this that put it together and made it happen you have truly helped

  • Jessica Maher says:

    This was a really great email to recieve so close to my late partners anniversary date. I was lost for an idea but this has gave me multiple and with such a tough time its hard to even choose an option. But you have made it much easier to to be able to choose something to do in a simple way

  • Jackeline Buttress says:

    The Anniversary of a loved one
    Remember all the good times and all the things we did as a happy couple. I have planted a small tree just in side the gate in our front yard.

  • Leonie Mollenhauer says:

    To celebrate what would have been my mother’s 100th birthday, we as a family gathered together for a special lunch serving dishes we prepared using her favourite recipes. She loved cooking up a storm and also was a talented cake decorator, producing a masterpiece for all family birthdays, so my daughter and niece baked and decorated special 100th birthday cakes. The reason we chose to celebrate in this way was because she had always told my daughter she was going to live to be 100. We also visited her grave with a lovely bunch of roses and each recalled a special story about Nana and Mum. A fitting tribute to a well loved lady.

  • Sharon Lau says:

    Every anniversary we go to the seaway to toss flowers near where my father’s ashes were put and then have a fish & chips lunch. My dad was a keen fisherman & he loved fish & chips.


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