The 10th death anniversary of a loved one is a monumental event. In some ways, the loss may feel like it was just yesterday. In other ways, it might feel like a lot has happened over the past decade.
After ten years, you likely still miss your loved one, but you’ve also had some time to heal. It may feel easier to celebrate their life at this point — especially if at first you felt too overwhelmed with grief. This is the perfect opportunity to honor their memory.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- 10th Death Anniversary Ideas for a Parent
- 10th Death Anniversary Ideas for a Grandparent
- 10th Death Anniversary Ideas for a Sibling
- 10th Death Anniversary Ideas for a Child or Adult Child
- 10th Death Anniversary Ideas for a Partner or Spouse
- 10th Death Anniversary Ideas for a Friend
There are many creative options for commemorating this milestone anniversary. We’ve come up with a list of ideas for remembering a parent, grandparent, sibling, child, partner, or friend.
10th Death Anniversary Ideas for a Parent
It’s been ten years since you lost your parent. It’s easy to imagine that so many things have happened in your life that you wish you could share with them. Here are some ways to honor their memory.
1. Scatter their ashes
There are many reasons why people wait to scatter the ashes of loved ones. You may have wanted to keep them close or display them. The cremation process might have taken some time. Or, you may have simply never gotten around to it.
Scattering a loved one’s ashes on their 10th death anniversary can be a great way to honor them. Choose somewhere meaningful. Perhaps it’s a place you love to visit, or maybe it’s a spot that your loved one requested in their end-of-life plan.
2. Decorate their grave
A wonderful way to honor a lost loved one is to visit and decorate their grave. You could do something simple like flowers, or something more intricate with religious symbolism.
3. Plan a memorial party
A memorial party is such a heartwarming way to acknowledge a death anniversary. It allows family and friends from all over to come together to celebrate the life of your loved one. Share memories, laughter, tears, poetry, or music. Eat, play games, or dance.
Tip: Consider setting up a memorial table or special centerpieces to remember your loved one.
10th Death Anniversary Ideas for a Grandparent
Grandparents hold a special place in our hearts. We didn’t know them as young people, just as our grams and gramps. Here are some ways to learn more about their lives and celebrate them on their death anniversary.
4. Make a scrapbook
Collect old family photos and make a scrapbook to remember them by. Add stories of their life to the pictures. Jot down anything you can remember, and start a family text chain to gather more stories.
Scrapbooks can be digitized. Then you can send copies to your parents, siblings, cousins, and aunts and uncles. These make for sentimental death anniversary gifts.
5. Share memories
If you’ve ever had a family text chain, you know how fun it can be. Share your favorite memories and ask your family members to share theirs. Pass along these stories to the children in your life.
6. Donate to a cause
A thoughtful way to honor a beloved grandparent is to donate to a cause they felt passionately about. Learning more about the organization is a wonderful way to also learn more about your grandparent.
10th Death Anniversary Ideas for a Sibling
Losing a sibling is a tough pill to swallow. They are often the people who understand you best. You likely have shared experiences and tons of memories. Even if your family is complicated (aren’t all families?) or you didn’t grow up together, we often still feel connected to our siblings. Here are some ways to remember them on their death anniversary.
7. Cook a meal you enjoyed together
If you grew up together, cook a favorite meal that your parents made. Whether you’re sharing with family and friends or enjoying it solo, reminisce on all the memories you shared with your sibling around the dinner table.
8. Create a living memorial
Consider creating a pretty living memorial to remember your sibling. Here are a few ideas:
- Planting a tree
- Cultivating a butterfly garden
- Naming a star
9. Plan a grief release ceremony
Grief release ceremonies can be very healing and a beautiful way to honor your sibling. Some options include:
- Floating flowers on the water
- Flying kites
- A candlelight vigil
- Blowing bubbles
Tip: Ensure your grief release is eco-friendly by following these simple steps.
10th Death Anniversary Ideas for a Child or Adult Child
There may be no amount of time that truly heals the grief of losing a child. Parents aren’t meant to outlive their children, and grief can feel unbearable when it happens. There likely isn’t a year that goes by that you don’t want to do something in memory of your beloved baby. Here are some ideas.
10. Light a candle
If doing something publicly feels like too much, staying home and lighting a candle is a beautiful way to honor the soul of the child you lost. The flickering flame can symbolize their fiery spirit, or it may simply bring you comfort.
If you want to gather others in memory of your little one, a ceremony on the beach with candles is a safe and moving tribute.
Tip: For candles to burn at home, buy a 24-hour flame. These are safe and last a full day. Light it somewhere that you walk by often to keep you connected throughout the day.
11. Read a book that reminds you of them
Regardless of if your child passed when they were little or grown-up, you likely remember reading a special book with them. Maybe it was a favorite of theirs, or perhaps it was a book your own parent read to you growing up.
Hold it close and read through it on their death anniversary each year. If you have children in your life, read the book with them too.
12. Volunteer for a service day
If your child died from a disease or accident, there might be a cause you now support in their honor. Consider spending their death anniversary in service to an organization that you care about. This is a significant tribute and can make it feel like, in some ways, your child’s death wasn’t in vain.
10th Death Anniversary Ideas for a Partner or Spouse
You may have felt like you lost a piece of yourself when you lost your life partner. Ten years later, you might feel differently. There isn’t a right or wrong way to feel about this. Allow yourself to be wherever you are. See if any of these ways to honor your partner feel right to you.
13. Write a letter
It’s been a whopping ten whole years since you lost your partner, and there must be so many things you wish you could share with them. Consider sitting down and writing them a letter to tell them everything.
A letter can also provide closure if there is something you are holding on to or feel ready to move on in your love life.
If you don’t feel like writing a letter to your partner, consider writing a letter to someone else in your life who knew them. Share stories, fond memories, heartbreak, and center your lost loved one on their death anniversary.
14. Do something you enjoyed together
Go out to eat, go for a hike, or catch a movie. Whatever you and your partner loved to do together is fair game. It’s always a good idea to bring a friend for support if you feel it might be hard. A friend who knew your partner is a great choice, so you can spend some time reminiscing.
15. Go through old media
If you have saved emails, letters, texts, voicemails, or other messages from your partner, today is the perfect day to go through them. Seeing their words or hearing the sound of their voice can be wonderfully healing. Keep what still serves you, and delete or give away what no longer does.
Tip: Do think it through before deleting any archives — would my grandkids love to hear this someday? Is this family history I should be saving? Someday, these writings or recordings might be gold to a future generation.
10th Death Anniversary Ideas for a Friend
Friends come and go in our lives, but losing a great one can be devastating. Here are some ways to fondly remember a great friend who passed away ten years ago.
16. Enjoy their favorite drink
If you enjoyed toasting to the good times, head to your favorite spot and savor their drink of choice. Tastes and smells have a way of eliciting memories.
Note: Alcohol is certainly not a requirement here! If your friend loved hot cocoa, that’s as delicious of an option as any.
17. Create an artistic expression
Paint, draw, or sculpt something in memory of your friend. Pour all of your love and grief into a beautiful artistic expression.
Take some snapshots and share them with the deceased’s family and friends. You could also gift it to someone who loved them. Another option is to sell it and donate the money to a cause they felt passionately about. Or use the money to pay for their favorite drink or movie!
18. Watch something you enjoyed together
Did you and your friend love watching horror movies together? Romantic comedies? Action flicks? Make your way to the theater, grab their favorite snack, and enjoy a movie like the good old days.
If you feel like laying low, staying home and popping on a Netflix or HBO movie that your friend loved is an excellent alternative.
Ten years is a long time. You’ve had a decade to grieve, heal, and miss your loved one. There’s likely been a lot that’s happened in your life since your loved one passed. Perhaps you want to share it with them, or maybe you are honoring something from their end-of-life plan.
This is an excellent opportunity to celebrate their life, but don’t feel obligated. Holding your loved one in your heart on the anniversary of their death can be more than enough.