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35+ Ways to Acknowledge an Anniversary of a Death

Acknowledging the anniversary of a death is a sign of support and comfort to those who have lost someone. It’s also an important moment for those who have personally lost someone close to them. There are many ways to remember a loved one who has died; you can do anything from purchasing an anniversary of death card to sending a death anniversary gift. Even taking the time to write a small message of condolence or support to the person who lost someone can make a big difference. If you’re looking for information on how to remember a loved one on the anniversary of their death, here’s a list of ideas to get you started.

Sending out words of comfort or an anniversary of death card is a good way to get started. If the deceased has a memorial website, you can post your condolence there. If you’re unsure what to say, here are some words of comfort you can offer on the anniversary of death. Whether you’re offering words of comfort for a one year anniversary of a death or are sending your sympathies for any anniversary of a death, your support and thoughts can mean a lot during such a difficult time.

  1. I’m thinking of you, praying for you, and holding warmth in my heart for you on this difficult day. We think about [deceased’s name] fondly, and often. I wish you a day of peace and comfort.
  2. While I know words can’t express how difficult this day is, I did want to make sure you knew how much we all miss [name] and how important [he/she] was to those around [him/her]. We love you always.
  3. It’s been a year and it hasn’t gotten any easier. I miss seeing [deceased’s name]’s bright smile and hearing their laughter. I’m thinking of you and [him/her] today and always.
  4. I know that this anniversary is incredibly difficult for you and I am so sorry for your loss. I wanted to make sure you knew that I’m just a text away and am always here for you. I know [he/she] is watching you from above today and always.
  5. I know this day is always difficult for you. You have been in my thoughts since this morning. I know nothing can change the fact that [he/she] is gone, but I am always here for you and yours.
  6. Today we are smiling as we remember the beautiful person that [deceased’s name] was. [He/she] was truly a bright and shining star that we were blessed to have known.
  7. Just the other day I was talking to [person’s name] about the magnificence that was [deceased’s name]. How lucky I am to have had the chance to know [him/her]. They are always in my heart and in my spirit.
  8. I’m thinking of [deceased’s name] today and am drinking a beer in their honor at their favorite pub. We love and miss you.
  9. I wanted to share this photo of me and [deceased’s name] at [event description]. It was one of the best times of my life.
  10. We’re hiking up [name of trail or park] today in memory of [deceased’s name]. [He/she] would always talk about how much they loved it here and we can see why.

Death anniversary quotes

If you’d prefer to leave the wordsmithing to someone else, you can consider posting an anniversary of death quote on the deceased’s memorial website. Some of these quotes can be used as one year death anniversary quotes, others can be used at any time, and all can be used in conjunction with other words of comfort you’d like to offer.

  1. “Don’t be dismayed at goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.” - Richard Bach
  2. “What is lovely never dies, But passes into other loveliness.” - Thomas Bailey Aldrich
  3. “Grief is in two parts. The first is loss. The second is the remaking of life.” - Anne Roiphe
  4. “While we are mourning the loss of our friend, others are rejoicing to meet him behind the veil.” - John Taylor
  5. “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” - Dr. Seuss
  6. “Only a moment you stayed, but what an imprint your footprints have left on our hearts.” - Dorothy Ferguson
  7. “When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” - Kahlil Gibran
  8. “A great soul serves everyone all the time. A great soul never dies. It brings us together again and again.” - Maya Angelou
  9. “Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish; Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.” - Thomas Moore

Death anniversary ideas

To take it one step farther, consider purchasing a death anniversary gift. Coming up with one year death anniversary ideas or even death anniversary gift ideas in general can feel stressful or overwhelming. Someone lost someone, what gift could do that loss justice? It’s important to remember that just the thought of someone thinking of you on the anniversary of a death can be special in and of itself. The type of gift can often come secondary to the feeling of support one feels when receiving the gift.

Death anniversary event ideas

  1. Hold a BBQ. If it’s safe for you to do so during COVID-19 times, hold an outdoor BBQ get together with your friends and family in remembrance of your loved one who passed away. If you can host a BBQ for someone and alleviate the stress off of the immediate family, this may be seen as a huge relief and something that they’re able to enjoy as attendees rather than as organizers.
  2. Hold a picnic. A picnic in the park or another open outdoor space is a great idea to hold a socially distanced memorial get together. Ask those close to the deceased to bring their own favorite foods (or maybe even have people cook favorite foods of the deceased in their honor). During the picnic, share stories and memories to help everyone remember the best times of their loved one’s life.
  3. Go on a hike. Hiking can be a great introspective exercise that allows you to think deeply on things while enjoying nature. If your loved one was an outdoorsy type or had a favorite trail, invite people to go on a hike in their honor. If the hike is too intensive, you can always meet people at the beginning of the trail and make it clear that they don’t have to go the whole way.
  4. Go to the beach. Hold a small get together at the beach, enjoying nature and the strength of the ocean. Many people find visiting the sea to be a restorative experience, which makes this the perfect place to hold a get together in memory of someone who passed away.
  5. Go to their favorite restaurant or bar. Hold a memorial get together at your loved one’s favorite restaurant, bar, or pub in honor of their life. Share stories and a few drinks while you celebrate the life of someone who passed away. You can make this even more special by inviting everyone there to share a toast in the deceased’s honor.
  6. Hold an online memorial get together. Holding an online get together is a great idea, especially during COVID-19. Set up a meeting on Zoom or Google Meet and send out invitations to everyone using your memorial website. Everyone can hop on the meeting, connect with each other and share stories and memories about the person who passed away.
  7. Make a piece of art. If you're artistically inclined, creating a piece of art to mark the anniversary of someone's passing is a great way to creatively express your grief. Art can be anything from painting a picture, taking a photo, writing a poem, or even quilting a blanket.
  8. Volunteer your time. Volunteering, especially if you can volunteer at a cause or place they cared about is an excellent way to mark the passing of a loved one while giving back to your surrounding community. You may feel powerful and positive after volunteering, especially if it's at an organization that your loved one cared about.

Death anniversary gift ideas

  1. Memorial stones. Memorial stones or memorial rocks are inexpensive and beautiful ways to remember someone. You can choose stones that have a favorite quote engraved on them, or go a step further by getting a quote and the name of the person who passed away engraved on them. Alternatively, you can choose stones you like and paint them yourself as a way of personalizing the gift.
  2. Memorial jewelry. Memorial jewelry comes in a variety of colors, types, and shapes and is a good way to keep the memory of a loved one close at all times. Memorial jewelry can also be engraved with a small quote, a name, and more, depending on the maker.
  3. Memory jar. A unique death anniversary gift is to get a memory jar and to fill it up with memories that your friends, family, coworkers, and community have about the deceased. You can either have friends mail you slips of paper, email you comments that you then write on slips of paper, or you can copy comments and memories people left on the deceased’s memorial website and put them on a piece of paper. Once you have all the slips of paper, fold them up and place them into a large jar. The giftee will be able to open the jar and read all the wonderful memories their loved one made with those around them.
  4. A memorial video. If you have a lot of photos or clips of the person who passed away, you can collect them and edit them into a memorial video. (You could also save photos that others have posted on the memorial website and use these in your memorial video.) Once the memorial video is finished, you can post it on the deceased’s memorial website or send it directly to the person it’s intended for.
  5. Wind chimes. Wind chimes are wonderful presents that have small pieces made of metal, glass, shell, or wood that make a beautiful sound in the wind and breeze. You can also find engraved or personalized wind chimes online for an added personal touch.
  6. Cleaning package. See if any local cleaners near you offer packages or gift cards that you can gift to others. Sending a cleaning package to a loved one can let them get their house deep-cleaned during a high-stress time where they may be unable to handle all the necessary chores they’d otherwise be burdened with. Sending them a thoughtful gift card to one of these services can help alleviate stress and give them time to be with their thoughts.
  7. A photo frame. Engraved photo frames are a great way to memorialize a loved one and are relatively inexpensive. Alternatively, you can purchase a digital photo frame that lets people upload a set of images they’d like the frame to rotate through.
  8. Make a donation. You can honor the life of the deceased by making a memorial donation in their name, either to a cause designated by the family or to a cause you feel the deceased would’ve appreciated. If they have a memorial website, you can easily make the donation on the memorial website itself. If they don’t, you can make a donation to an organization and send a few words to the family letting them know you’ve made a donation in memoriam and are thinking of them and theirs during the anniversary.
  9. Self-care package. Self-care packages can vary in size and content, but are focused on providing relaxation and relief to the recipient. A self-care package is a great option during a death anniversary, since it’s likely the recipient is grieving, stressed, and may not be focusing on their own self-care.
  10. Sympathy flowers. Flowers are a popular and thoughtful remembrance gift for someone who passed away. Send an arrangement to the family to let them know they’re on your mind and your thoughts are with them on this day.

If there isn’t already one, it’s a good idea to start up a memorial website for someone who passed away, even if it’s a year or more after their death anniversary. Memorial websites help people stay connected to each other after a loss and make it easy to share thoughts, memories, and condolences about the deceased. Starting a website takes less than 10 minutes and is a great way to remember someone who has passed.

Start a website

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Last updated February 16, 2022
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