Filling the void after a loved one has died is difficult, and almost impossible. Finding unique ways to honour and remember them can play an important role in the lives of those who are grieving, and can make the void-filling process a little easier.
Whether your loved one passed away from old age, illness, self harm, or accident, there’s always something you can do to honour them in a way that makes sense for you and would feel relevant to them, too.
Here are our favourite ways to honour a deceased loved one.
Register for a Fun Run!
If you love nothing more than lacing up your shoes and heading outside for a run, then registering for a Fun Run might be the perfect option for you. There are a range of Fun Runs organised across Australia each year, with each run donating money towards a different cause. If there’s a relevant Fun Run out there, enrol yourself and start raising money! Not only are you helping raise awareness for a cause that means something to you, but you’ll be donating to organisations who can help others experiencing what you (and they) did, too.
You can find a comprehensive list of Melbourne-based Fun Runs here. And if you aren’t based in Melbourne? Hop onto Google and do a quick search. There’s almost always something happening in every city.
Shave your head for cancer
If your memories from school aren’t filled with lunchtime head-shaving to raise awareness of the impact of cancer, then did you really attend a true-blue Aussie school?! If you feel game enough to shave your head, then you might as well do so to raise awareness and money for a charity funding research or care for people suffering with the same type of cancer that took your loved one.
If your hair is long enough, you can level up your haircut by donating your hair to a charity that makes wigs for kids or for people who otherwise couldn’t afford to buy one.
Make a regular donation to a relevant charity
Do some research into local charities, and find a way to regularly donate to them. Whether your loved one passed away due to illness, mental health complications, accident or something else, there’s always a charity you can contribute towards.
Here are a few charities we’d recommend looking into. Use these as a starting point or springboard, if you will, and then do some research into what else is out there!
Cancer Council WA – Working to achieve a cancer-free future. There are also a range of organisations who raise funds and awareness for individual cancers, so it’s worth diving a little deeper if you know you’d like to donate to a charity that funds research into a specific cancer.
Heart Foundation – A trusted body working to improve heart disease prevention, detection and support for all Australians.
MND NSW – A national body that supports those living with and impacted by Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
Beyond Blue – Providing 24/7 support to those living with anxiety and depression, and they work in the realm of suicide prevention, too.
Volunteer with an organisation doing work in a relevant space
If you aren’t in a position to donate money, then why not donate your time instead? Heaps of Australian organisations are always on the lookout for volunteers – some of whom encourage young Australians and students to help out on weekends, and others who encourage older Australians and retirees to help out on weekdays or nights.
We wrote a guide all about how older adults can find volunteer work, which you can read here.
Complete something they weren’t able to
Did your loved one start a big project that they weren’t able to finish? Maybe they’d set themselves a goal they weren’t able to achieve, like learning how to knit or running a half marathon? Whatever they set out to do – give yourself the goal of achieving that exact activity, in their honour. And then encourage your family and friends to join you on your mission. This can be a lovely way to bring loved ones together to remember your friend or family member who has passed.
There are so many different ways you can honour your loved one. It’s really up to you to decide what feels most appropriate, and what they’d love most if they were still around today. If you aren’t looking for a new activity to do in their honour but are keen on making their memorial service extra special, you can read another one of our guides here. And if you’re on the hunt for new traditions to mark their death anniversary, you can check out our guide – filled to the brim with unique ideas – here.