We all know the tradition of sending balloons into the sky in honor and remembrance of lost loved ones. Once a traditional sentiment providing comfort and hope to the grieving, now less appreciated and utilized, as the consequences have proven to negatively impact our environment.
Here is a list of some creative, meaningful, and eco-friendly ideas to honor and acknowledge the deceased:
Just like the uplifting sentiment of releasing balloons, bubbles float into the air gracefully and beautifully without damage to the earth and wildlife. This one is a huge hit with children. The more people to participate, the better and more dramatic your memorial will be. You choose the place, the size, and amount of your bubbles, and start blowing iridescent spheres safely into the sky. It will result in smiles and simple fun.
Grief can often be a dark place. Lighting candles, whether handheld or paper luminaries, is a great way to add light to the darkness. Commemorating your loss with family and friends after sunset can be a serendipitous way to show your love and gratitude for the ones who have left us with brilliant light and reflection.
If you live near the beach, choose a special day to create masterpieces of your heart in the delicate sand. To remember, take pictures. You can look back at each year’s changes and transformation. If you aren’t blessed enough to live near the beach, you’ll have to get a little more creative. Sand can be purchased at most hardware stores, and is known to have calming effects on both children and adults. Find a spot outside, or a large bucket, to create sand messages of love and honor.
Floating flowers on the water is absolutely beautiful and has no adverse effects on the environment and lake/ocean life. A mass release of flowers in a nearby lake, ocean, or stream is sure to create a sentimental and memorable tribute. One that is sure to be photo-worthy. The more flowers, the more dramatic this memorial will be. Even better, support local and purchase flowers from small businesses close to home. (Tip: You can also call local flower shops and ask them to donate any petals or flowers they plan to throw out. If you tell them your cause, they are usually honored to help.)
This one has a lasting impact, well beyond your family and friends. Pick a fundraiser/non-profit that is close to your heart and family. Encourage each person to make a memorable donation to the cause. After, tally all of the donations to see how much of an impact you’ve had on the special charity or organization of your choice.
Seeing something grow and blossom after a loss can be a powerful and uplifting influence. Find a special spot to plant a tree in honor of your lost loved one. As it grows, you’ll be reminded of the lasting legacy of the ones who are gone. This is both beneficial to the earth, and your heart and soul.
With a quick Google search you can find a creative treasure called seed paper. This paper is biodegradable, can be written on, and contain special seeds that grow once planted. Written words of love and remembrance can be included on the paper before planting to create a tribute that will literally grow from love.
Create a day with the intention to go out into the world and spread love and kindness. Have friends and family do the same. To further the influential legacy of your loved one, create small cards that say, “In honor/remembrance of ____. We hope this act of kindness made you smile.” When your heart hurts, making someone else smile is sure to have a joyous impact.
Pick a significant and special day to load your yard, and the yard of family and friends, with garden spinners, and pinwheels. Make them colorful and creative. The brightness of these unique additions to your yard are sure to lift spirits. After, fly kites to extend the fun. This is another favorite of children to honor the ones they miss. Creating memories to lessen the pain and longing.
Make or purchase a special box of remembrance for your lost loved one. Each year, on the anniversary of their death, or during other significant dates on the calendar, create letters, pictures, and sentiments to add to the box. These can be memories, things you miss, or letters with the wishes and longing in your heart. With each growing year, you’ll be able to look back at the box and see the growth and transformations of your grief journey.
A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.