We’ve sat down with countless Broome and Tioga County families over the years here at Allen Memorial Home, as we help make funeral and burial arrangements for their loved ones who have died. During that time together, we often hear stories like these:
“My mother’s favorite Bible verse was Psalm 34:18 which says, ‘The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.’ My mother did not have an easy life, but you’d never know that if you met her. Her faith was strong, and she was a joyful person. She must’ve mentioned this Psalm to me a hundred times over the years. I would love to print it on a bookmark to give to everyone who comes to her funeral. Her family and friends all know how much those words meant to her.”
“My grandpa smoked a pipe and the smell always makes me think of him sitting in his favorite chair reading the paper and commenting on every article. When he died, I asked my grandma if I could have his favorite pipe. It’s something I will always cherish.”
“This is my dad’s watch – it was a gift on his 25th anniversary at work and was one his prized possessions. I’m going to have it resized so I can wear it in his honor.”
We all know what it’s like when a certain smell or sound reminds us of a person we love. There are even experiences that immediately bring memories to mind. Maybe baking cookies makes you think of your aunt who always had sweets on hand when you visited. Or maybe there’s a park you drive by that immediately brings you back to your childhood and all the time you spent exploring with your brother.
From a favorite family recipe to a particular song to a shared experience, part of the grieving process is keeping cherished memories alive after a loved one has died. The same holds true for certain objects that you can carry with you or set in a prominent location around your home.
These physical reminders are a direct connection to a loved one; something tangible to hold onto as you experience grief. Certain objects can bring about feelings of sadness, happiness, and nostalgia that help a person acknowledge the reality and finality of death while also bringing good memories to mind.
At Allen Memorial Home, we help each family make the funeral for their loved one personal and memorable. Many families choose to distribute a keepsake to those who attend the service. Consider these ideas:
- A favorite recipe, verse, quote, or song lyric handed out as a take-home memento.
- Seeds for a favorite flower could be given out as take-home gifts for someone who loved gardening.
- An ornament distributed to honor a loved one who enjoyed the holidays.
- Memorial candles to be used during the service and then taken home.
- Set out or distribute a loved one’s favorite candy.
When it comes to a personal item that belonged to someone special, these ideas may bring a measure of comfort:
- Favorite photos, books, or recipes
- Shirts, hats, or ties
- Medals, key chains, charms, or pendants
- A favorite flower or bouquet, pressed and dried
- Photo albums
- Hobby or sports memorabilia
- Mementos from their home
If you’re looking to create a keepsake all your own, consider “Thumbies,” a line of beautifully crafted necklaces, bracelets, pins, or other jewelry with an imprint of your loved one’s thumbprint in the center. If a family so wishes, our staff can take fingerprints at the time of death and will work with a reputable vendor to have your custom piece created. These can be used as gifts at holidays, birthdays, graduations, or simply as a commemorative piece.
We also offer keepsake jewelry that holds a portion of the cremated remains inside. We have necklaces and bracelets with angels, crosses, and other meaningful symbols designed to safely protect your loved one’s cremated remains.
If your loved one served in the military, another option is a decorative flag case. At the time of burial, the family is given a flag from the President of the United States thanking the veteran for his or her service. Afterwards, families often tell us they need something to keep the flag clean and appropriate for display. A wonderful way to honor your loved one is with a flag case that can be eloquently displayed in your home.
The important thing to remember no matter the keepsake you choose is that it should bring to mind good memories of time spent with a loved one. If you would like to talk with us about any of the options mentioned here, or discuss putting your own arrangements in place ahead of time so you can be sure your wishes are honored, reach out to us anytime.
Our experience, knowledge, and compassion will surely be of assistance to you and your family.