What Do You Do on a ‘Deathiversary?’ 10+ Ideas


You may want to do something special on the date of your loved one’s death anniversary. But what? There is no right or wrong way to “celebrate” a deathiversary. You can choose from many activities to honor your loved one’s life.

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We’ve compiled 10 of the best ways you may want to celebrate your loved one’s life. 

What’s a Deathiversary? Is it Actually a Word?

A deathiversary is the date that a loved one or friend passed away. You can use the day itself to honor your loved one's memory, do something special, or simply think about your loved one.

Though you won’t find “deathiversary” in the dictionary, the word gives you another way to say “death anniversary,” “angelversary,” or “anniversary of their homegoing.”

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What Can You Say on a Deathiversary?

Acknowledging the deathiversary of your own loved one or someone else’s loved one can help provide a sense of healing. Sharing a few words of comfort, encouragement, or remembrance can also help you or someone you know to feel validated by feelings of grief.

To someone experiencing a loved one's death anniversary

Knowing what to say is often the hardest part of acknowledging a death anniversary. Take a look at these options:

1. Your mother was a wonderful woman who I was so privileged to know. You remind me a lot of her and I know she would be proud to see the person you have become. I’m sure she is smiling down on you.

2. I was reminded of your father today and the way he cared about everyone around him. I’ll never forget the time he [insert memory]. I hope you know how much of an influence he was and still is.

3. Today is a day when I honor your grandmother. She had a tremendous impact on my life and I still feel her legacy. I always smile when I see her favorite flower in the supermarket around springtime.

4. The memory of your brother brought a smile to my face today. Though we all still miss him deeply, I am thankful for the memories we have of his contagious smile and heartwarming laughter. 

5. As you think about the passing of your grandfather, I hope you smile when you think about his stories, his memory, and his legacy, still felt in each of us who were privileged to know him.

To others to acknowledge your own loved one’s death anniversary

If you find yourself struggling with what to say on a death anniversary to tell people about your own loved one’s anniversary, use these five messages to help get you started.

6. Today is a day of mixed feelings. Sadness because I miss my father. Gratitude because of the life he lived. Emptiness because I miss his presence. Fullness because I see the ways his legacy continues to live on.

7. It’s hard to believe another year has come and gone since the death of my mom. She was always such a rock in my life and I still miss her tremendously.

8. Even though it’s been [number] years since my spouse’s passing, in some ways, I feel like it was yesterday. I still hear [his/her] laughter and think I feel [his/her] touch. Even though [he/she] is gone, I am thankful I still have memories.

9. Today is a difficult day, the death anniversary of my precious child. The time we had together was far too short but [his/her] memory and the love [he/she] gave will stay with me forever.

10. This is the [number] year anniversary of when my [relative] passed from this world to the next. Forever missed, absence sorely felt, and [his/her] legacy lives on.

Popular Deathiversary Quotes to Share

Whether you want to share a quote on social media or to send someone a text message, take a look at five of the best death anniversary quotes to share. Consider adding one of these quotes into a card if you decide to give your friend or loved one a death anniversary gift in memory of their loved one.

11. “What we have once enjoyed we can never lose; all that we deeply love becomes a part of us.” — Helen Keller

12. “If the people we love are stolen from us, the way to have them live on is to never stop loving them.” — James O’Barr

13. “A great soul serves everyone all the time. A great soul never dies. It brings us together again and again.” — Maya Angelou

14. “No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away.” — Terry Pratchett

15. “You may not be with us in close proximity but in our hearts, you are like you had always been and forever and ever will be.” — Jean Paul Malfatti

Deathiversary Celebration Ideas

“Celebrating” the death of your friend or loved one might sound a little strange. Instead, think of it more like a day of remembrance or a memorial day where you can take the time to honor the life and memory of the person who passed away. Do something that helps you think about the deceased's memory and legacy.

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Plan a memorial get-together

Plan a memorial get-together for friends and family members to gather and share memories and stories about your loved one’s life. You might hear stories you never knew about or find yourself laughing over the humorous antics related by those who share. 

Gathering to honor someone’s life can help you and each guest see that your loved one's legacy is going strong.

Do something creative

You can also do something creative you enjoy or do something creative your loved one would have enjoyed.

If you do something creative you enjoy, focus on making something that you can use to honor your loved one. You could paint a scene from a memory you have with your loved one, create a collage, or compose a song in tribute to your loved one.

If you decide to branch out and participate in a creative activity your loved one enjoyed, simply enjoy the activity in your loved one's honor. Whether you take a pottery class, create a stained glass window, or practice photography skills, enjoy the activity that made your loved one so unique.

Volunteer at an event

Was your loved one passionate about a certain charity, working with rescue animals, volunteering at a blood drive or helping organize community activities? Find something your loved one liked to do and look up opportunities to volunteer. This is a simple way you can carry on your loved one's legacy, honor your loved one's memory, and give back to your community.

Host a fundraiser

Many people support causes such as raising money for cancer research, finding the cure for ALS, or preserving the rainforest. If your loved one had a pet passion, consider hosting a special memorial fundraiser. 

Memorial fundraisers can be as simple as setting up a GoFundMe account for a charity or placing a Facebook fundraiser on your profile. You could also choose to make it a big event and plan a day of events, a silent auction, and a charity luncheon.

Participate in a memorial run

You could also participate in a 5K on or near the date your loved one passed away. Try to find a race that supports something your loved one was passionate about so the proceeds from your entry fee can also go toward honoring your loved one's memory and make a difference.

» MORE: Everyone's life is worth celebrating. These tools keep their memory close.

Journal or write a letter

The anniversary of a loved one’s death is the perfect time to journal or write a letter. If you choose to journal, consider writing about the ways your loved one changed your life and how you still experience your loved one's presence. 

Jot down the things you miss the most and what you loved the most about your loved one. Write about your loved one's endearing attributes and quirks. Make it an opportunity to remember your loved one.

Writing a letter to your loved one can also serve as a therapeutic activity. “Tell” your loved one how you’re doing, how the last year has been, what you miss, and why you wish your loved one was with you. 

Make a photo memory book

Comb through photos you have of your loved one and select the best ones to make a memory book. Many companies can help you create a digital photo book. You can also print off the photos and arrange them in a photo book with scrapbook paper, stickers, and other elements to make it extra special.

Visit your loved one's grave or niche

Visiting your loved one's final resting place provides you with an opportunity to take some time for quiet reflection and consider your loved one’s contribution to your life. Take time to talk, place fresh flowers or small trinkets on the grave, and commemorate a deathiversary by spending time with your loved one.

Listen to your loved one's favorite music or eat favorite foods

Listening to your loved one’s favorite music or eating your loved one's favorite foods can bring back memories and inspire you. Smile as you feel your loved one's presence with you as you enjoy what made him or her special.

Plant a tree

Planting a tree or flowering bush can provide you with a way to honor your loved one's memory and give you a living memorial to return to year after year. This activity can be especially meaningful on significant dates, such as a 10-year death anniversary.

Remember Your Loved One

You can't identify a right or wrong way to go about honoring the death anniversary of your loved one. Simply finding ways to honor your loved one's legacy and memory can help you. Use this day to show yourself that the ripples of your loved one’s life are still felt no matter how long he or she has been gone. 

Infographic of celebration ideas for a death anniversary

  1. O’Bryant, Fred. “Quotations.” University of Virginia, n.d., people.virginia.edu/~jfo/quotes/quotes1.html 
  2. “Maya Angelou Sayings and Quotes.” Authors, Wise Sayings, 2021. wisesayings.com/authors/maya-angelou-quotes.

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