AFTER THE MEMORIAL SERVICE
After The Memorial Service section is all about what to give guests to remember the day and, the loved one that has passed away. There are a dozens of ideas you can choose - for fun, for community, to get people together and so forth. The ideas here are either free of cost (just your time to organize) or cost very little. You can however spend a fortune if you want, but to be honest, that is not the real idea.
In alphabetical order, here are just SOME ideas:
An activity for both children and adults. Small boats can be decorated, created, and designed with the person that has passed away in mind. The colours, the design, the shape and even size can be created to suit where you are going to release the boats. It could be small (A4) paper boats to ‘home-made’ larger boats.
A prize (A Cup, Certificate or even an object) can be given to the person that has the best design. The boats can be released onto a river, a pond, lake, or stream. The water will determine the overall size of the boats!
A picnic (if the weather is fine) is an ideal way to start the event. The captain, (or Commodore) of the event can say a few words, give a tribute, read a poem, or simply say a few words regarding the loved one passed away. Others may wish to join in and say or relate a story or two especially if the deceased loved sailing.
Book Club - Start a Book Club in the Deceased's Name
Gather together (or virtually) and discuss, propose, and debate books (all genres), magazines, poetry, and things together in the name of the person passed away. It is a way to keep the memory and name of the person alive.
Books - Donate Books
If your loved one was an avid reader and had a good selection of books, instead of giving then to a Charity store to sell, donate them to a local school or place that would appreciate them. For your loved one, insert an ‘ex libris’ card on the inside front cover (‘from the library of’) – inscribed: ‘ In loving memory and Donated by [name]’
Get as many people as you can to sign-up to support your loved one's favourite Charity or one that looked after them towards the end. This could be an event – a Charity walk, fun-day, a run or any activity the Charity are organizing.
Organize T-shirts, hats, glow-sticks, (umbrellas) – anything and everything that makes you as a ‘group’ stand-out from the crowd. It will be a fun and wonderful activity. Make sure everyone has a camera or device for taking pictures.
Check with the Charity to see when they are organizing an event that you would all like to participate in. There are many After The Memorial Service Charity's you could get involved with.
Christmas Gift Wrapping Party - In The Name Of...
Collect and collate gifts and presents before the Christmas period. Plan and organize for people to come over and help wrap the presents. The presents then can be donated in the name of the passed away person. The tag could have the name of the deceased to make it more ‘personal’. Children Charities, hospitals, and a myriad of charities would love to receive such donations.
Take names at the service for those that would like to help. Sourcing gifts, purchasing things (Sellotape, gift paper, ribbon, bows, gift tags etc) or just helping on the day to gift wrap the presents.
Kite Flying Party or Event
Kites today can be bought relatively cheaply or be home made. Prices, sizes, quality, and designs can vary wildly from rank-amateur (‘cheap-and-cheerful’) designs to highly polished professional (expensive) designs.
Organize a day when everyone can get together on a hill side, in a favourite park or place the loved one passed away and let the kites soar into the skies. Messages of love, quotes, or sayings can be written on ribbon or fabric and stapled to the tail of the kite.
On a windy day, flasks of coffee, soup, soft drinks, and nibbles are a good idea.
Movies or Netflix / Amazon Marathon (there are other channels you could choose...)
Plan and organize to watch his/her favourite movie or Netflix series on TV. The more people you invite the merrier (within reason). Plan the popcorn, favourite nibbles and drinks and reminisce and watch all together. A marathon event (as opposed to a single film or just part one of a 6-part series) has more impact and will be remembered. It will be something you will always talk about – “I was there…”
In the summer, with a white sheet and a TV projector (borrowed, hired or what ever - this can add a touch of theatre and feeling of a 'happening'. Outdoors, this could be combined with a BBQ or even just a fire pit and marshmallows on sticks.
What to do with the clothing of the one that has passed away? One of the obvious choices (and is one of the most popular choices) is donate their clothing to a charity store in the High Street. This is very worthy and goes to a good cause. Clothing who ever owns it, is generally a temporary, ephemeral thing and is eventually recycled or destroyed.
Once the clothing has gone to the Charity shop, the only memory of, ‘that green dress’ or ‘his brown duffle coat (that was well worn)’ is in old photographs you have. One idea to keep a tangible part of him/her is to create a patch-work quilt. To be placed on your bed as a top cover, as a picnic blanket to enjoy, as a throw over your settee or even created as a tapestry to be hung on a wall.
It is a tactile, physical aspect of their lives you can still touch, feel, and brush across your face. For ladies, their perfume can be delicately sprayed onto the fabric giving the dimension of smell and aroma of them. For men, their aftershave can be lightly sprayed.
This is an item that can be handed down to future generations.
Creating the patchwork quilt is either a solitary affair or one can gather like-minded patch-work quilt devotees to help cut, sew, and create the final design. Time, how big and what fabric you have will determine the logistics.
Plant A Tree - Group Activity
Many organizations give-away saplings to be planted – free-of-charge. Contact one, ask for and assemble a small forest of saplings.
Contact, organize and get friends, family, relations, and those that knew or loved the person that has passed away to get together on a particular day (time and place) and in the name of the loved one, plant trees for our fragile planet. We need as many as we can plant.
This will Memorialise the person passed away, create a fun activity for all those wish to be involved, do some good for our planet and be a great talking point in the pub afterwards. A day you will never forget.
Planting trees willy-nilly is not the idea. Conservation Trusts and Groups can advise where and what to plant.
Road Trip - Places Revisited - a Great After The Memorial Service activity
For family and close friends, creating a logical and easy walk around to the places your loved one inhabited, visited or enjoyed, can be a moving, emotional and give a sense of connection.
If, for example they loved to walk in a favourite wood, forest or countryside and had photos of themselves taken at a particular spot; the road trip could encompass these places and another photo taken (in the same spot and angle) with everyone on the journey. Comparing the two photos may invite stories or reminisces.
Creating a 'Quiz', a fact sheet, an identification of trees, shrubs give-away sheet, Find these landmarks are added 'fun' activities.
If the loved one frequented a particular pub, why not all pop-in for a drink (or two). Have laid-on some food (nibbles, tapas, crisps, peanuts) that he/she loved to accompany with their drink. If it is your local, invite friends and family that did not frequent the pub – to get to know them better and be able to relate to stories and things they got up to!
This is an activity that costs nothing, can be exciting if planned well and be (dare I say) educational in a fun and good way.
Rose - Name a Rose Cultivar After Your Loved One
The International Cultivar Registration Authorities (ICRAs) allows one to have a rose named after someone. The system is a non-statutory, voluntary one. There is no legal protection over the name or the plant. However there is the pleasure of knowing a rose or plant can be named after you (or a loved one).
See - https://www.ishs.org/nomenclature-and-cultivar-registration/icra
Sea and Ocean Lovers - Reefs and Ecology of Our Reefs
For any SCUBA diver, snorkeller, swimmer, or lover of our seas, we all know the coral reefs on our planet are in danger (Global warming and all that). Create a ‘giving-fund’, a Collection, a donation box in the memory of your passed one can and will help save our vital coral reefs. There are dozens of organizations to choose from in all different countries and areas of our planet. This is a wonderful and worthy After The Memorial Service activity.
Sea and Ocean Lovers - RNLI
For those that loved the sea, had a boat, dinghy or simply loved being on the oceans water, organize for friends and family to visit a RNLI station. A tour will open your mind to the perils of the sea and what a great job the RNLI volunteers all do risking their lives to save others.
Before you go on your tour, create a money donation box for the RNLI; for colleagues, shops, shopkeepers and anyone that knew your loved one that has passed away to give something. When visiting the RNLI station, the donation box can be handed over with pride – helping their brave and difficult work to continue. All RNLI staff are volunteers.
After the tour, a fish and chip supper on the shore or quay side can be had – reminiscing about the times you had together on or by the sea with your loved one. Singing a Sea Shanty may be a tad too far, but it is also an idea if you feel the urge.
Seeds - Give 'Forget-Me-Not' Seeds
These beautiful blue, delicate and cheerful plants look spectacular in any garden. Spread the love and joy by giving guests a packet of Forget-Me-Not seeds to all guests in memory of your loved one passed away.
Other seeds such as Sunflower seeds (or what ever you have to hand or can get) will be just as welcome. Don't forget to tell people what seeds they are, how big they could grow and of course, what colour they (should) be when grown!
There are Annuals and Perrenials - decide which you would like to give.
Sports Event - Plan a Sports Event
Not everyone is a sports fanatic, into sports, good at sports or even interested in sports. However, this event can be different and appealing.
The “[name of the passed-away person] Cup”
The sport can be anything – Bowling (from ten-pin to Top Crown), football (3,4,5-a-side or more), Croquet, Tennis, Swimming, garden badminton to… just about anything you can think of or the ‘players’ are capable of. According to the Encyclopedia of Sports, there are over 800 different sports in the world.
This idea is not to play to professional or Olympic standards. It is for fun, the memory, and getting everyone together for a short time.
- F - for
- U - us
- N - now
Rope everyone you can think of into it – making up jobs if need be; half-time refreshments supervisor, caterer (cutting the oranges into quarters for the half time players), Programme attendants (from a simple one-sheet list of the players to… as fancy and as ornate as you would like). Commentator, kit organizer to even organizing the bar at the end of the game.
The purpose is for fun, remembering the loved one that has passed away and being able to talk and reminisce. This is a brilliant and all encompassing After The Memorial Service activity for all to get involved with. This is an activity that can cost nothing (beg, steal or borrow items and people to help) to costing a fortune. The choice is yours.
Star - Buy a Star
Purchase a star in the passed-away person's name. There are a number of companies that sell this service – choose a constellation and receive a certificate of the name of the star as well as a space chart for its location.
Links for you to check-out and see which is the best for you (there are more companies, this is just a random selection and not endorsed):
There are dozens more companies offering these facilities. The above is just a small example.
Please note the purchasing of a star is symbolic and not scientific. A great gift and memory, but Sir Patrick Moore will not mention the star by name on any TV programme!
Tattoos are becoming mainstream and popular with young and old alike. Creating a symbol, a design or something that Memorializes the person passed away, is or can be a lasting and meaningful memory. This is not for everyone.
On an agreed date, the party arranged could be to discuss a design, or for those talented enough to be able to draw or create a unique design, this can be discussed with the group as a whole and a design (or designs) chosen. It is possible that not everyone would want the same design or even to be tattooed in the same spot as everyone else.
Designs can be chosen, places identified to be tattooed (this alone can be a fun activity!) and a consensus arrived at as to what is fitting and would be in keeping with the character of the person you are Memorializing. Bear in mind, some people may not wish to go ahead, but no doubt the majority will.
A date, time and tattoo artist can be agreed at the party. With a bulk discount negotiated, the design or designs can be achieved relatively cheaply. All visiting the tattoo parlour on the same day will boost the confidence and morale of those wishing to have it done. For some it may be their very first tattoo and can be a daunting event. This After The Memorial Service is not everyone’s cup-of-tea!
Time Capsule / Memory Capsule
Collate and create items such as photographs, letters, books, notes, cards. Place them in a waterproof, safe and secure air-tight container.
Bury the container (The Memory Capsule) in the ground, carefully noting where it is. Note the specific measurements and distances from things/locations that you think won’t change in the future – just to be able to locate it in the future when you are not around. Plan a date for when it should be dug-up and opened – a specific and special date.
Write a Journal or Diary
Start with your day and your daily life but incorporate a thought, a memory, a story as you remember them day-by-day of the loved on that has passed away. This will keep their memory afresh in your mind. The angry moments become less angry and eventually, inconsequential.
This approach has many advantages. We all grieve in different ways, and this is one way to help heal the grief you have. There will come a time when you cannot think of anything more to write or say about your loved one. This is not the end but a beginning for you. You have immortalized your loved one. Your diary or journal can then be read by someone else, passed-on and they can continue to write. This is a forever diary.
END OF SERVICE IDEAS / RELEASES
There are some great ideas floating around to have at the end of your Memorial Service such as:
• Dove Release
• Butterfly Release
• Sky lantern
• Helium balloons
• Bio-degradable Balloon Release
• Toasting with individual small bottles of wine (if budget allows)
• Flowers/ posies
• Plant a seedling – either plant it for everyone in a small pot for them to take home, OR they can plant it themselves – you provide the small pot, seedling and soil on a table.
HOWEVER, there are a few words of warning.
Choose a reputable company. There is a list of Dove Release companies on this website. Make sure the Doves are Homing birds. Some are not and are prey to other birds soon as they have been released.
This should only be performed by professionals. There are 'good' and 'bad' butterflies to release. Take their advice.
Once thought of as a great idea, where they are to be launched, the wind direction, what is in the flight path and so on questions should be asked before deciding upon Sky Lanterns. They are beautiful, meaningful and spectacular - in the right situation. Take advice. They can cause damage, accidents and problems.
The same advice as per Sky Lanterns. When landed, they can be nuisance and danger to wildlife - take advice.
There are dozens and dozens more ideas one could include in an After Memorial Service. We don't have enough space to explore them all here!
Sections to The Ultimate and Complete Memorial Service Guide:
Section ONE - The Basics
Section TWO - The Logistics
Section THREE - The Room
Section FOUR - Equipment
Section FIVE - The Bar
Section SIX - Catering and Food
Section SEVEN - The Invitation
Section EIGHT - The Service
Section NINE - Decorations
Section TEN - Give-away, Take-Aways and Afterwards
Section ELEVEN - Memorial Service Summary