Answering these questions before you think further about a memorial will help guide your planning.
A private memorial is something that you do just for yourself. It helps you honor and remember your loved one. Many memorials are individual. Some people make private donations to organizations supporting those with breast cancer. At times there is public recognition of the donation, however, sometimes there isn’t. Some people will buy a piece of jewelry or a plaque to hang at home that helps them remember the person. Some people buy pink clothing as a symbol of losing a person to breast cancer. I am not much of a poetry person, yet when my mother passed away I wrote a poem or two about her as a memorial. I keep it in my personal journal. Sometimes people will write a story about their loved one. This varies from long-standing family stories or vacation memories. For example, you could have a picture of your loved one alongside a small card from the memorial service. Other family members could collect pictures and compile these into a memorial Powerpoint. The Powerpoint could be given to anyone who wanted one as a memorial. These are all examples of simple private memorials.
Public memorials can impact a few people or impact many people. They can be intended for the family or for friends and strangers. Again, it is important to know in your heart what kind of memorial you want. An example of a memorial that is public yet is intended for the family, is planting a tree or a garden in your yard. In this instance, the location makes the memorial public, however, it is really more for family and friends of the deceased as they are most likely to see it and understand its meaning. One family we know of put up a large pink ribbon statue made out of concrete and colored stones in memory of their mom. They placed this in the middle of their front yard which was located just off of a highway. This was in a front yard but obviously intended as a public memorial to their loved one who passed away due to breast cancer.
There a many ways to publically remember a breast cancer victim. Fundraisers that support researching a cure, the patients, families etc. are common. The types of fundraisers vary from Marathons, Walk-A-Thons, and Dance-a-thons, to selling candy bars or fresh fruit. Many items are sold on the internet that you can purchase and then resell, donating any profit towards a cancer organization.
A number of people decided to establish a foundation in memory of their loved one who died due to breast cancer. The Susan G. Komen foundation was established by her sister to honor Susan G. Komen. Prevent Cancer was established by Carolyn Aldige in memory of her father who had died from cancer. The Pink Fund, The Cancer Couch, and the National Breast Cancer Foundation were all established by breast cancer survivors who wanted to help others with breast cancer whether they ultimately passed away or became a survivor. Establishing your own memorial foundation is an excellent way to remember your loved one.
Whether you choose to create a private or a public memorial for your loved one, it is a worthwhile endeavor. Memorials help us grieve and remember all at the same time. Your loved one will never be forgotten and memorials are just the outward expression of this inner knowledge.