Remembrance – the action of remembering

Written by Director, Gareth Coles:

Inspired by this year’s theme for the Poppy Appeal and Rethinking Remembrance – it’s got us thinking here at Coles, how do you remember your loved ones?Remembrance is defined as ‘the action of remembering something or someone’.  So whether you choose to remember someone by simply taking the time to think about them, or actively joining with others in ritual to pay collective respects – at some point, we all engage in some form of remembrance.


The funeral is such a focus in the days immediately after death, but the loss can be felt all the year through, so having a symbolic way to remember your loved one can help you focus on the happy memories and the good times, and honour their life in a positive way.


Here are 7 popular ways that people choose to remember:


  • Lighting a candle – from candlelit vigils, to shrines, to a simple candle in the home or place of worship, lighting a candle is a time honoured tradition across most religions symbolising light from darkness, hope, and eternal life.


  • Visiting a grave, scatter site, or burial tree – one of the most common forms of remembrance – paying a visit to a special place where someone is still physically present in some way can be very moving and create feelings of togetherness.


  • Planting and tending a memorial garden – a particular favourite with the green-fingered, the sensory experience you get in a garden can be particularly powerful for children and those who are visually or hearing impaired.


  • Commissioning a piece of jewellery – in the same way that the Poppy symbolises Remembrance, wearing a piece of jewellery that belonged to a loved one, or was created in their memory is a visual, tactile reminder that you can carry with you everywhere.


  • Honouring a specific collection or hobby – displaying a collection your loved one held dear or experiencing their hobbies (such as taking up knitting or watching motor sport) can help you feel like you’re spending quality time together with their memory.


  • Organising a remembrance service – on a special anniversary of death (often 5, 10, or 20 years), services are a wonderful way to extend ritualistic remembrance beyond immediate family and friends to former colleagues and the wider community – helping everyone understand how many lives your loved one touched.


  • Holding an annual day of celebration – one or our favourite ideas is to have an annual get together (on a birthday, anniversary or special date) with family and friends to share stories and keep the memory of your loved one alive.


How do you remember your loved ones? We’d love to hear your family traditions…


And if you’d like to share a note of Remembrance on our memorial tree in our funeral home this November – please click here.