Need help putting together a very small memorial ceremony
March 9, 2008 9:14 PM   Subscribe

Suggestions for putting together a very small memorial ceremony.

I met a friend in October and have become very close to her. This Saturday is the 1-year anniversary of her mom's passing. I am putting together a very small memorial ceremony, just for the two of us and perhaps her daughter, to take place at her home. I plan on buying a yellow rose, because her mom loved them, and some candles. We'll be having strawberries, her mom's favorite fruit. Although I realize this will be a highly personal ceremony, are there any suggestions on what else would be appropriate? I've thought about playing the song they played at her funeral.

We may also spread a tiny amount of her ashes in a couple of her favorite places. Any appropriate readings for this occasion?

This will be a non-religious ceremony, and due to outside circumstances, no alcohol will be present. I'm considering finding sparkling grape juice - but can you get that this time of year? I usually find it around New Years'.
posted by IndigoRain to Human Relations (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sounds lovely the way you've mentioned Indigo.

My only suggestion is think of something to do after the memorial. Perhaps a nice meal together (home-based if people are feeling fragile) or if it's a nice day in your corner of the world, a little picnic where you can just sit, talk and watch the world pass by.
posted by Static Vagabond at 9:19 PM on March 9, 2008

If you can get a bunch of her pictures, a small slideshow (with aforementioned song) is easy to do.
posted by unixrat at 9:48 PM on March 9, 2008

What about just playing her favorite music, maybe in kind of a chronology, like "this was music mom loved in high school, this was mom's first concert, this was something mom always turned up if it came on the radio, this was the song that mom would sing around the house when she thought nobody was listening". In my mom's case, there would also be songs she sang to us that will have special meaning when she passes.

You should be able to find sparkling fruit juice at any time of the year, especially if there's a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods within reach of you--they carry sparkling juices of just about every variety, all year round. Most liquor stores probably have sparkling apple or grape juice all year round as well. And if not, fill flutes with seltzer water and top them off with a dash of your favorite fruit juice and raise a toast.

Did her mother have a favorite writer or poet, that you could find an appropriate piece to read aloud? What about a favorite film or play? If she was religious, perhaps there's a scriptural verse that would fit the occasion.

It's incredibly thoughtful, what you're doing. I'm fortunate that most of my friends still have their loved ones, but you really inspire me to remember for the future that such things should be observed and honored.
posted by padraigin at 10:12 PM on March 9, 2008

The idea of being outside sounds wonderful. Have you thought about possibly planting a tree?

As for readings, did she have a favorite poem? Ecclesiastes is great, of course. What about something from Leaves of Grass, from the speech (not actually) by Chief Seattle, or from the first paragraph here by Chief Luther Standing Bear? (To me, the "ecological indian" stuff is a bit cheesy, but I could imagine modifying it a bit.)
posted by salvia at 11:57 PM on March 9, 2008

Depends on how "woo-woo" you want to be. I'll be spreading some of my Mom's ashes this summer, and I plan to pour out a small amount of wine and tobacco; her favorite things, and to say a few words to her as if she were there. You could write notes to her, then burn them, or burn some sweetgrass or incense. Rising smoke is often ragrded as a transport mechanism for communication with the dead. Ritual is very comforting; I'm pretty practical, but mourning calls for ceremony.
posted by theora55 at 10:27 AM on March 10, 2008

this thread was in response to the loss of an infant, but some of the poems might be appropriate for the service you are creating.
posted by hazel at 11:46 AM on March 10, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. More ideas are welcome.
posted by IndigoRain at 9:56 PM on March 10, 2008

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