Remembering your friends and family who have passed away via a memorial is a powerful sentiment. Maybe your loved one had a favorite place to sit, like a public park. Leaving a public marker or monument, like a bench plaque, is a way to share the legacy of your loved one with generations to come.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Memorial Bench Plaque Ideas for a Parent or Grandparent
- Memorial Plaque Ideas for a Child
- Memorial Plaque Ideas for a Philanthropist or Volunteer
- Memorial Plaque Ideas for a Sibling
- Memorial Plaque Ideas for a Pet
As such, choosing what the plaque will look like and the words you want to accompany the memory of your loved one will take some consideration. If you’re not sure what exactly you’d like the plaque to say, or you’re wondering what images might be appropriate, we’ve collected some ideas to help.
If you're interested in other unique ways to honor a loved one, you can consider a custom urn from a store like Foreverence or even have a memorial diamond made from ashes with a company like Eterneva.
Post-loss tip: If creating a meaningful memorial is just one of many challenges you're facing after losing a loved one, our post-loss checklist can help sort it all out.
Memorial Bench Plaque Ideas for a Parent or Grandparent
When you lose the matriarch or patriarch of your family, the loss is indescribable. So, when choosing a memorial plaque, find something about them that made you smile. Pick something that speaks to their personality, something you admired.
1. Heart and arrow or love birds on a branch
If your grandparents were romantics, then dedicate a memorial plaque to their love. Use the names they used for each other and include the number of years they spent together.
2. Military symbol or flag and their name
Military service is something to be proud of, so honor them with either a military symbol or a flag. Beside their name you can add the dates they served, their rank, and other important information.
3. Crossed fishing poles or fishing boat
What’s better than having a fishing buddy? Hanging out in a boat in the warm sun with a line dangling in the water. If your parents we’re avid anglers, this is a nice tribute.
4. Lines from their favorite poem
Poetry can spin words into magic. If your parent or grandparent had an affinity for wordsmiths and you know their favorite verse, a plaque with these lines is an honor.
5. Memorial tree with date
You can choose from the likes of giant oaks, sweeping weeping willows, or taller-than-life coastal pines for your memorial tree plaque. Add a meaningful date, geographic location, or GPS coordinate so when you see it, you can’t help but smile.
Memorial Plaque Ideas for a Child
Losing a child can make you feel empty. Sometimes a memorial, a physical location to mourn or celebrate life besides a grave, can help.
6. A drawing or artwork
If your child was a budding artist, you have some of their pictures.
If so, pick your favorite and have it made into plaque. If the picture came from their heart, then everyone who sees it will feel a little bit of their love.
7. Lyrics to a song
Sometimes song lyrics say what we can’t. If you and your child had a favorite song together, this is a nice way to share their brightness and passion.
8. In Loving Memory of My Son/Daughter/Child
Sometimes it’s best to keep it simple. A phrase like “In Loving Memory of...” can be all you need to say.
9. Skateboard, hockey stick, or other equipment
Memorialize their favorite activity, sport, or hobby. If they were a skateboarder, you could get crafty with an old board. For hockey players, you could have a puck engraved.
10. Rainbows and handprints
Rainbows and handprints are an eloquent reminder of the innocence of youth. Something beautiful is always on the horizon.
Memorial Plaque Ideas for a Sibling
Memorials for siblings can be heartfelt and positive. Because you’ve known them longer than anyone else on earth, your relationship is unique and wonderful.
11. Ode for a sister or brother
If you had a fun and humorous relationship with your sibling, try to find an ode that reminds you of the inside jokes—something that only close friends and family would understand. Alternatively, you could look to Robin Williams, who was the king of one-liners on most subjects.
12. “Loving Brother” or “Loving Sister”
If you’re like me, you love simplicity. While this may not tell a passerby something particular about what they did or who they were, you are letting the world know that their heart was as big as the world.
13. Just their name
Memorializing someone’s name alone on a bench can give a place a whole new meaning. Instead of friends or lovers suggesting that they’ll meet at a particular geographic location, they may instead say, “Hey, I’ll meet you at (your sibling’s) bench.”
14. Their favorite saying
Did your sibling have a catchphrase? Or, were they always quoting a president? If so, memorialize this on a plaque to let them know you were always listening.
Memorial Plaque Ideas for a Philanthropist or Volunteer
Philanthropists and volunteers are examples of humanity's heart. They work tirelessly for a cause they believe in with their whole being—in many cases, without pay. Memorialize their passions, be it an animal rescue, watershed, land trust, or a vulnerable group.
15. Animal images
Animal rescues speak to everyone. Thankfully, there are those who break their backs mucking stalls or rehabilitating domestic animals and wildlife. For them, find a pictorial from their work, be it a photo or a silhouette.
16. Acknowledge accomplishments
Philanthropy is how our country functions at a personal level. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to fill the needs of so many critters, places, people, and things.
Choose a list of all the things that mattered to your loved one for their plaque.
17. Newspaper headline about their life
For some notable volunteers or philanthropists, there are wonderful articles written about their lives. If so, you might choose to take one of those titles and a publication name so that others will have the opportunity to research their life, if inclined.
18. “Thank you”
Consider writing a short few lines of gratitude, especially if their work was far-reaching. You may also choose to include the name of a nonprofit they worked with for others to take note. Maybe someone new will be inspired to volunteer.
Memorial Plaque Ideas for a Pet
Animals have intimate relationships with their humans. They rely on us for food, water, and comfort. They eat, sleep, and watch movies with us. That love and bond can be memorialized in a plaque.
19. A Photo, footprints, and a name
No matter if your critter was a dog, cat, or bird, you likely have some photos of them. You also have options to add footprints from most companies that manufacture plaques. If it’s at a specific park or sidewalk, check with the agency that manages the memorial benches there.
20. Photo of their barn or pasture
Photos of your pet’s home create a beautiful living memorial. This way, you or anyone else can take a break to enjoy a moment of repose and also enjoy what made them happiest.
21. “A Dog is a Man’s Best Friend”
This quote is from a court case in Warrensburg, Missouri about a farmer who loved his dog. In his closing statement, the attorney created this timeless saying—one which our collective conscience reveres as utter and complete truth. If you like the idea of famous quotes in general, you’ll be able to find them easily online.
If you loved a pet so much to order a memorial bench for them, you'll likely want to place it in a park or arboretum that you both loved.
Here, you might choose from the famous quotes of Lord Byron or Mary Oliver, renowned in their love for dogs. Alternatively, you could write your own epitaph.
If the agency you are working with has some restrictions on their memorial plaques, you could simply choose a silhouette of your pet.
First, take your favorite photo of them, then trace their outline onto a piece of paper. You’ll likely be able to use this if a photograph is not within their guidelines.
Commemorating Friends and Loved Ones
Part of grieving is the healing process. If you have chosen a memorial bench for your friend or loved one, then the plaque you choose can help others enjoy both the meaning of their life and how much you valued them.