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Honoring Loved Ones: How to Make a Memory Journal 

You’ve lost someone special, and your heart aches with their absence. While the pain may fade over time, your love for them will not. One way to honor their memory and ensure their impact lives on is by creating a memory journal. It is a tribute to moments shared, inside jokes, life lessons learned, and how they made you feel. This simple act can help with the grieving process and be a source of comfort for years to come. 

Let’s explore some ideas to get your creative juices flowing for making a memory journal for your loved one. From photos and mementos to stories and reflections, a memory journal shares the joy they bring to your life. So grab some paper and a pen or open a new document on your device and let’s get started. Your loved one deserves to be remembered. 

Gather Photos and Keepsakes 

Gathering photos and mementos of your loved one is a great way to honor their memory in your journal. Dig through boxes in the attic or storage unit and pull out old pictures, birthday cards, favorite knickknacks, or other trinkets that remind you of them. 

Remember to ask friends and family members if they have any photos or small items they want to contribute. Even seemingly insignificant items can spark cherished memories. You might come across the following: 

  • An old tape or playlist they made 
  • A movie or concert ticket stub from an event you attended together 
  • A favorite recipe or menu from a meal they cooked 
  • A small gift or trinket they gave you over the years 

Arrange the items however feels right to you. You could do chronological, by category, or whatever sparks your creativity. Leave space in your journal for captions, stories, or thoughts about each item. Take your time writing about the memories each one evokes. Share both happy and sad moments – your loved one was with you through life’s ups and downs. 

Don’t worry if you can’t find many physical mementos. Photos are a great way to build your memory journal. Ask friends and family to send you copies of photos they have or scan your own printed photos. Arrange the photos in a collage or glue or tape them onto the pages of your journal. 

Adding items like ticket stubs or recipes in pockets, envelopes, or foldouts attached to journal pages are interactive ways to make your memory journal more engaging. Use decorative tape, ribbons, or string to connect bulkier items so they can be folded into the journal. 

A memory journal is a labor of love. Take breaks when needed and be gentle with yourself during the process. But pushing through and completing it will give you a cherished keepsake to honor and celebrate the life of your loved one. 

Collect Stories and Share Memories 

To make a meaningful memory journal, collect stories and share memories of your loved one. Talk to friends and family and ask them to share some of their favorite moments. Hearing others’ stories can help jog your memory and capture parts of their life you may not know about. 

Sit down with old photos and mementos. Look through pictures, cards, gifts, or other items that remind you of them. As you do, write down the memories and feelings these artifacts evoke. Even small details can help paint a vivid picture of the person they were. 

Think of traditions you shared with your loved one and jot those down as well. The little rituals you enjoyed together, whether baking Christmas cookies, going to the lake each summer, or just chatting over coffee each morning, are an important part of your relationship with them. Capture them in your journal. 

Don’t forget to include your own special recollections. Think back to meaningful conversations you had, accomplishments you were proud of, challenges they helped you through, or quiet moments you treasured. Pour your heart into describing these cherished memories. 

Include Inside Jokes or Favorite Quotes 

Including inside jokes, favorite sayings, or cherished quotes of your loved one in the memory journal makes it all the more personal. Think of the little phrases or snippets of conversation that were uniquely theirs and brought a smile to your face. Jot them down in your journal, along with the memories they evoke. 

For example, maybe your grandmother always said, “Busy hands are happy hands,” as she knit another blanket. Ask family and friends to share any expressions that remind them of your loved one. Capture the quirks of their speech that made them so endearing. 

Favorite Quotes 

Did your loved one have a favorite inspirational quote or life motto they lived by? Include the quote in your journal along with the significance and meaning it held for them. For example: 

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt. My grandmother embraced this philosophy and tried new challenges well into her 90s. 

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi. This quote inspired my friend to pursue a career in social justice and make a positive difference through his work. 

Inside Jokes 

An inside joke is a shared experience between two or more people that brings laughter and connects you through a private moment of joy. Inside jokes often arise spontaneously but become an integral part of the relationship. Recall any inside jokes you shared with your loved one and record them in your memory journal. 

Preserving these heartfelt details and private moments you shared will make your memory journal a lasting tribute to the joy and meaning your loved one brought to your life. While bittersweet, reliving the good times through the journal can help ease feelings of loss and celebrate the love you shared. 

Add Letters, Cards, or Notes 

Adding personal letters, cards, or notes your loved one wrote or received can make a memory journal extra special. These provide a glimpse into their life, relationships, experiences, values, personality, and heart. 

Look through papers your loved one kept over the years. Choose meaningful letters, cards, or notes that capture memories you want to preserve. You may come across birthday or holiday cards from friends or family, old love letters, or handwritten notes about shared experiences. Read through them and pick a few favorites to include. 

You can also add blank stationery or note cards that feature your loved one’s handwriting. Have other friends and family members contribute notes, letters, or cards they received from your loved one. This helps create a well-rounded tribute and provides different perspectives. 

Scan or photocopy the originals to add to your memory journal. You can also transcribe them word-for-word to revisit whenever you like. Attach photos of your loved one from around the same time period as the correspondence for extra context. 

Adding personal correspondence helps bring your memory journal to life in a profoundly intimate way. Through their own words and expressions, you’ll gain insight into what really mattered to them and the relationships they held most dear. 


You owe it to yourself and your loved one to preserve precious memories. Creating a memory journal is a meaningful way to honor someone who has deeply impacted your life. Though the process may be emotional, the end result will be something you cherish for years to come. So start flipping through old photos, rereading love letters, or jotting down moments you want to remember. Pour your heart into it, and don’t hold back. Your loved one deserves nothing less. A memory journal is a gift for both of you – a chance to celebrate a well-lived life and keep their spirit alive. What are you waiting for? Get started today. The memories are waiting! 

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