Skip to content
Golden Charter > News & Advice > Six ways to commemorate the anniversary of a death

Six ways to commemorate the anniversary of a death

10 May 2023 | 2 min read time
Funeral Heart sympathy or stone funeral heart near a tree.
Funeral Heart sympathy or stone funeral heart near a tree.

It’s natural to think more about someone on important dates like the anniversary of their death. There is no right or wrong way to mark a death. From visiting the deceased's graveside to posting a social media tribute, there are many ways to acknowledge the anniversary of a death. The most important thing is to remember in a way that brings comfort to you, your family and friends.

Here are six suggestions for how you might commemorate the anniversary of a loved one's death.

Visit somewhere special

You could consider visiting the resting place of a loved one. Families and friends often leave flowers at the graveside or where their ashes have been scattered, but just being there in quiet reflection can help.

Visiting a meaningful place like a favourite park or beauty spot can be a wonderful way to reminisce and an opportunity to remember the times you spent together. You can go alone or invite friends and family who share your loss.

Host a gathering

You could cook their favourite meal for friends and family in their memory or host an afternoon tea or a drinks party.

Gathering people together means you’re not alone on the anniversary or your loved one’s death. The form of gathering is less important than creating the opportunity to share your thoughts and feelings with those who understand your loss.

Support a charity

Many families make charitable donations in their loved one’s name at the time of their funeral. Marking a death anniversary by making a donation can be a positive way to commemorate their passing. Giving is Great is a useful resource for finding UK charities that will appreciate your contribution.

While some donate to charities directly, others participate in fundraising events in memory of a loved one. From cake sales to running marathons, there are any number of ways to raise money for charity. Most of the larger charities have information on their websites suggesting ways that you can get involved.

Write a letter

Writing down your thoughts and feelings can be a real help after suffering a bereavement. Keeping a grief journal or writing a letter for the anniversary of a death can be a way to get your thoughts and feelings out.

Remember, no one else needs to read the letter; you can keep it somewhere special or you can burn it, it’s between you and your loved one.

Light a candle

Marking a death anniversary doesn’t have to involve a lot of organisation or effort. A simple way to mark the date of their passing is to light a candle in their memory. You can place it beside their photograph and play some of their favourite music or read a poem that they liked. The point is to create a focus for your feelings.

Together with our funeral director partners, we also run digital candle tributes in memory of loved ones. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for the next digital Light a Candle campaign.

Take time for yourself

However you decide to commemorate the anniversary of a death, it’s important to remember your own feelings. Grief can feel stronger around the time of an anniversary so give yourself the space to cope with your feelings. You might prefer to make no special plans to mark the anniversary, and choose instead to relax and remember how much they meant to you.

Golden Charter

Smart Planning for Later Life

We are one of the largest funeral plan providers in the UK* and we work with over 2,900 independent funeral directors across the UK*. Many are long-standing, family-run businesses and all provide a compassionate and professional service.

Find out more about how you can plan for the future with one of the funeral directors in our network.