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men in family crafting memory box

This memory box activity is adapted from the Hosparus Health Grief Counseling Center’s Family Grief Relief Workshop. If you are interested in attending this workshop in the future, contact us through our online form or by calling 502-456-0521.

“I am learning to live with the presence of (her) absence.”—Bereaved Client

Grief gives us the opportunity to re-experience loved ones in a new way.  We can keep loved ones we have lost in heart and mind, but we connect with them in other ways as well.  This includes connecting with the beliefs and values shared with them, their habits, and their possessions—little treasures that they have left behind that are also now our own.

This memory activity invites your family to create a deliberate way to stay connected by collecting little artifacts and keeping them in a special place that can be used whenever you feel the need to have your person present with you.

Things you will need:

  • A small box, preferably one with a lid (think shoe box or hat box, or something similar)
  • Photos of the person who died (throughout his/her whole life), printed on regular printer paper, cut and trimmed to your preference
  • Mod Podge (or craft glue that has been thinned slightly with water)
  • Foam brushes (to apply the glue)
  • Other incidentals to decorate the box (stickers, quotes, jewels…)
  • A collection of small artifacts that belonged to the person who died (pieces of jewelry or a watch; ID cards or driver’s license; special photos, trinkets; eyeglasses; old cards and letters—any small thing that reminds you of this person).


  1. Make a collage of pictures to cover the box—on its sides and the bottom if you prefer.  (Note: If you are covering the bottom make sure it is dried completely before resting the box on its bottom side.)
  2. Similarly, cover the lid on its sides and top.  (Note: Make sure the lid is completely dry before resting it on the box.)
  3. Fill the box with small artifacts, mementos and treasures that remind you of or connect you in some way to your person who died.
  4. Place the box in an accessible but safe place.
  5. Establish an agreement within your family that when anyone is missing your person who died and want to connect with them, they may sit with this Memory Box and sort through the treasures inside.  Everyone else is to allow them space to do so.

Agree also, that objects in the box are to be returned to the box for safekeeping and to ensure they are they for someone else to hold and remember.

Looking for ideas on how your memory could look? Here are a few examples:

memory box example

memory box example 2

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