Ways We Remember Our Angels In Heaven

Ideas for Holidays, Birthdays, Heavenly Anniversaries, & Every Day

- For our first Christmas after we lost Ashleigh, my grandma bought a special Christmas tree and strung sunflower garland all over it since those were Ashleigh's favorite. Then everyone in the family brought an ornament that reminded them of my sister, hung it on the tree, and told what that ornament meant to them and why they chose it. There were a lot of tears, but it's a great way to include him or her in holiday celebrations.

- Pick out a Christmas ornament for your tree each year that reminds you of your angel. I have quite a few Barbie ornaments from doing this....I always think, "Ashleigh would love this tree!"

- My Mom and I made Christmas ornaments, we scanned in Ashleigh's picture, sized it to a 2X3, put a Christmas background as a border, and printed them. Then we got little picture frames, and an ornament hook; now Ashleigh's ornament hangs on the front of my tree every year

- For special holidays, leave a candle burning for your sibling so that he/she
will be still included in the festivities

- Decorate a shephards hook for Christmas with red and green garland and a big red velvet bow and place it down at the cemetary

- Buy your sibling a Christmas and birthday gift.
Maybe your parents will open it in their place or you can do it yourself.

- Adopt a family and buy them Christmas presents in memory of your angel

- Take a pumpkin to the cemetary at Halloween

- For the 4th of July, go to the cemetary with your family (especially children) and light up your sparklers there and have the holiday with your loved one

- Get a grave blanket for the winter when there is no grass. You can have one made for you or you can do it yourself. Just get chicken wire, craft wire, small ornaments (angels, santas, snowmen, etc.), and green garland. Twist the garland through the squares in the chicken wire, and secure it with the craft wire. Then tie on the ornaments. It's really neat and looks great. Our family does this together on Thanksgiving.

- On Birthdays...Get balloons in your sibling's favorite color and then a birthday cake with your sibling's name on it. Cut off the piece with their name, put it on a paper plate and "send it up to Heaven" for your sibling.

- You can also do a shephards hook for your sibling's birthday. We use artificial vines twined around it with lilacs on it and lots of pastel colored ribbon.

-Do something that your loved one would enjoy...Go see a movie, go ice skating, anything that your angel would love doing.

- Bake your angel a special birthday cake. A friend of mine bought me a sunflower cake pan because that was Ashleigh's favorite thing in the world. Thanks Again Judy!

- For adults ~ Take a shot of your sibling's favorite drink!

- Make a faux birthday cake with lightweight white plastic, ribbons, and artificial flowers to leave at the cemetary. Fasten it to a base that will hold it to the ground using craft wire.

- For Ashleigh's first Heaven Day, some of our friends and family went down to the cemetary. We each had a helium balloon with a card that we had written a note to her on. We said a prayer for her and then sent them off.

- To go along with having a balloon release, you can put flower seeds in the helium balloons so that when they burst the seeds will fall to earth and flowers will be growing somewhere in memory of you loved one. Even if you can't see them, your loved one can.

- On the third anniversary of the day she went to Heaven, I bought a little angel to keep in the mailbox and a smaller cement angel that I painted white.

- Have a butterfly release at the cemetary (through the net, type in Butterfly Farms in a Search Engine)

- For someone who loved roses, decorate the grave with rose petals

- Have an "In Loving Memory" Open House. Invite friends and family, serve your loved ones favorite foods, display pictures of him/her at various ages and with friends and family members, celebrate their life and share memories together.

- Throw rose petals off a bridge, boat, or someplace scenic....

- Stand and hand out $10 bills to strangers passing by. I've never done this, but I heard someone else mention it and thought it would be something to do that's really different from anything else I'd ever heard!

- I got married August 21st, 2004. Up until I was actually down to the details of planning my wedding, I hadn't thought of anything that I really wanted to do to include Ashleigh in the ceremony. I knew from the start that I couldn't have a maid of honor. Without a doubt, that would have been Ashleigh's spot if she was here. It seemed wrong to replace her with someone else so even though I hated explaining it to other people, I didn't have one. My husband Matt's best man walked alone, and we put a picture of Ashleigh on the altar where she would have stood. Purple was one of Ashleigh's favorite colors and mine also. Sunflowers were her favorite flower. For a couple years after her death, I liked them because she did, and then after really noticing them, they became my favorite also. They're just such a happy flower. We decorated with sunflower garland, large vases of sunflowers, other wildflowers, and made our bouquets with sunflowers also. We also put articial sunflowers around my cake and a couple on the side. It was perfect for me, Ashleigh would have loved it. During our ceremony, we lit our unity candle and the pastor read a poem that I had written by a friend of my Mom's. It was about our family...Past and present. If you're interested and would like to read the poem or see pictures, Click Here

- My friend Becca included her brother Jason and her "Pap" in her wedding by adding a red rose for each of them in the middle of her white rose bridal bouquet and by lighting a remembrance candle.

- Buy a blank journal...record every single memory you can think of, especially the things that bring back a smile or a laugh. When you feel like you are forgetting things about them or just want to read back about the happier times; they are all together in one place. It's great, really!

- Make a website in memory of your sibling. It's a wonderful thing to do for yourself, very healing. It's also a way for your sibling to keep touching people's lives and helps their memory live on forever.

- We have a mailbox down at the cemetary. It's cemented in a large flower pot. We redecorate the pot with styrofoam cubes with artificial flowers stuck into them. The mailbox is painted blue and has sunflowers painted on it. Whenever anyone wants to write Ashleigh a letter or leave something for her, they can just put it in with her mail.

- Make a cd with all your sibling's favorite songs on it.

- Donate to a special fund or association in your loved one's memory

- Get a locket and put your angel's pictures inside

- Put together a special photo album with pictures of you and your sibling. You can make it even more special by getting into scrapbooking and using a special album, stickers, frames, and your journaling beside the pictures.

- Make a "collage" of framed photos on your wall of different shapes and sizes with only one theme - your angel

- Get a guardian angel pin to wear to remind you that you have an angel of your own watching over you always. My Grandpa got me one to wear on the day I graduated from high school.

- Keep a bird feeder by their grave so that the birds can stop by and have something to eat. Maybe different friends and family can take turns filling it up.

- When I lived with my Mom, I painted one of my bedroom walls with sunflowers all over it in remembrance to my sister. I called it my "Ashleigh Wall".

- A really neat idea that I heard about is to get some wire and shape it into your angel's name. Then use a glue gun and artificial flowers to make a little memorial to put at the cemetary. I haven't tried this yet, but I think it's a really neat idea.

- Set up a scholarship fund in your angel's memory

- Make a bookmark in memory of your sibling. My friend Sarah's Mom has them made in memory of her son, Josh. There's a poem on each side, Josh's picture, and it's laminated. It's a neat little keepsake to give to family and friends.

- Make what I call a "Favorites page". Whether it's a webpage, in a scrapbook, or something you just type up on the computer, make a list of all of your angel's favorite and least favorite things...Foods, movies, snacks, games, friends, places, funny expressions, etc. It's great to look back on later and remember those little details that made them who they were

- Go and see and movie that your loved one would have chosen to see

- Donate books to your local library in your loved one's memory

- We bought a cement angel for the cemetary and had her painted really nice with the same color hair and eyes as my sister.

- Have a picnic in their memory with favorite foods and at their favorite lake, park, etc.

- Plant a rose garden for your sibling. Maybe put a little statue and a bench in it so that when you miss them even more than usual you can just go sit outside and enjoy the beauty of it.

- Run or walk in a marathon in their memory

- My Mom and I made "remembrance candles" for Ashleigh and a few angel friends. We used a "Ball" canning jar and spray painted it white first. Then we took coordinating colors (like different shades of blue or green, burgundy and cream, etc) and sponge painted the jar (layering each color over the other after each dries). We cut a picture about the same size as the circle on the front of the jar. We put lace around the edges with a hot glue gun and then glued down the picture. We put colored ribbons around the top of the jar. A little votive cup and candle will fit right down into the top of the jar.

- Make a wreath for the cemetary with their pictures laminated on it

- Plant flowers in front of the headstone in the summer

- Buy or make a hanging basket of flowers for the shephards hook

- Write a message to your loved one and then send it up to Heaven on a kite

- Plant bulbs (tulips, daffodils, crocuses, irises, hyacinths) in the late fall.

- Get a tattoo of something that your angel would love

- Each spring, get a new windsock that reflects your angel's personality or favorite things and hang it at the cemetary

- You can transfer pictures of you and of your sibling onto a pillow or shirt, either find someplace that will do it for you or get transfer photo paper for your printer from the store. There will be instructions on that about how to do it and iron it on.

- Use your loved one's clothing that was kept to make a quilt.
You can also use the iron on transfers to add photos.

- Take a photo of the two of you and have enlarged into a poster that you can hang on your wall

- Plant a tree in their memory
Ashleigh's middle school planted one and placed it outside the 6th grade wing. They put a plaque with her name on it in front of it.

- Have family and friends over to remember your angel.
Ask each person to bring one bulb or plant to put into a remembrance garden.

My friend Zizette made a "moss cake" for her brother Michael's 21st birthday.
I think it's a really neat idea so I wanted to post a picture of it here.

If you'd like to make one in memory of your loved ones, just follow the directions below using your loved one's favorite colors or flowers!

Use floral foam (3 bricks cut into a 9 inch round).
Keep them in the wrapper and trace around the pan.
Cut it into a 9 inch round "cake".
You'll also need floral wire and 1 bag of moss.

After cutting the foam, tape it on the bottom with floral tape or wire.
Just cut a length and thread it through.
Take a large piece of moss and put it on top of the "cake"
by using about 3 inch lengths of wire
(make it like a candy cane to anchor it on).

It's like frosting the cake (floral foam) with moss.
She used mini carnations to make the 21 and scrapbooking ribbon
that read "Happy Birthday" to go all the way around the cake.
She anchored this with yellow headed pins.
Dried flowers would also work well.
Just water the whole thing at the cemetary.

My friend Amy went sky diving in memory of her brother, Chris. Flying was the joy of Chris' life so Amy honored him in the best way she could think (even overcoming her extreme fear of heights!). I thought it was incredible, one of the neatest things I've heard of anyone doing. This is Amy ~

Visit Chris' Page

- If you have any ideas or things that you do to remember your sibling on holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, or just an ordinary day; please email me, and I'll add it to the list.

You're Listening to I Will Remember You by Sarah McLachlan