Online Memorials and Other Inexpensive Ways to Say Goodbye

By: Flora Richards-Gustafson

Funerals can cost thousands of dollars, money that many families just don't have right now. Though the tradition of honoring loved ones with an elaborate funeral service and gravesite marker are still cherished ways to say goodbye, many families are looking for new ways to memorialize a loved one. Not only can alternatives save money, they can also have a more significant meaning that may have a more positive impact for families and friends in the years to come.

The following are other memorial ideas that may help families looking for a more creative and inexpensive way to show how much they loved the deceased.

Volunteering your time for a loved one's favorite cause or charity is a way to remember that person in a way that will benefit those in need. Some example volunteer ideas include:
- Donate your time to a local elementary school your loved one attended or supported
- Read to children at the local library your loved one frequented
- Write a poem or story in memory of the deceased for a newspaper, online forum or literary magazine
- Become a big brother or sister in your loved one's memory
- Donate your time to a senior center or assisted-living retirement home where your loved one lived

Donations do not always have to come in the form of money. Sometimes time and belongings can be the best donation to symbolize the giving spirt of a loved one.
Some example donation ideas include:
- Donate a loved one's books to a school or public library they supported
- Donate a memorial bench to your loved one's favorite park or facility
- Give an award or trophy in your loved one's memory to a local sport event or music festival they enjoyed

Online Memorials
Online memorial services cost little to no money. On a memorial site, families can create a personalized tribute to a loved one that can be visited forever no matter where in the world family may be located. Pictures can be uploaded to the site as well as videos and family trees.

Plant a Tree
Tree planting will not only honor a loved one who may have loved the outdoors, but will also benefit future generations with an everlasting memory that is graceful and dignified. Most tree planting programs are inexpensive and a portion of the fees often go toward a worthy cause.

Plant a Garden
Memorial gardens can be easily and inexpensively made in one's own yard. Simply plant your loved one's favorite flowers and plants in a section of your garden or at a favorite community garden space. A stepping stone or rock with the person's name could be added to the garden as well.

Start a New Tradition
Starting a new tradition is a wonderful way to honor a lost one in an inexpensive way that can be passed down to future generations. A of couple ideas may be:
- Buy a present on the memorialized loved one's birthday for a member of your community who is in need
- Donate the gift the memorialized person would have received for Christmas to a child or youth in an angel tree program during the holidays.

When remembering and memorializing a loved one, it is not always necessary to spend a lot of money to show that they were and are loved. Take the time and effort to do something that can honor a loved one, help others and make a lasting impression.

~Flora Richards-Gustafson, 2009

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Honor a loved one forever with a free online memorial from Valley of Life. In addition to our online memorials sites, families can send free funeral notices to family members and create inexpensive memorial albums.

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