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Grief Composting

Grief Composting

Just as regular composting is beneficial for your garden’s environment, grief composting can be beneficial in restoring your inner environment – your inner garden – after the loss of a loved one by providing a process for exploring and resolving unresolved feelings; expressing feelings of love and loss; as well as emotionally placing your loved one in a place of beauty.

Step 1: Using large pieces of acid free, biodegradable paper, write and draw-out in crayon what happened that still feels painful or unresolved with regard to your loss; include any feelings and thoughts about “the story” no matter how messy or unpleasant or unkind.  
Step 2: Rip the paper into tiny, tiny pieces; place the pieces in a bowl and burn them. Then throw away the ashes.
Step 3: Write and draw “love” stories about the individual who has died. Express what that person meant to you, the beauty they brought to your life, what you will miss about them, and anything else that needed to be said. 
Step 4: Read the stories out loud to a concerned listener or loving other, if you so choose.
Step 5: Compost the stories by tearing them into small pieces of paper; place the pieces in a decorative container – like a flower pot. 
Step 6: In spring, mix the torn paper with soil; this is now compost for your garden. In the area where you place the compost, plant flowers you feel your loved one would like. 

To learn more about grief composting, visit the Remembering A Life Blog:  Grief Composting by Elizabeth Lewis.
Branches in vase with hearts

Create a Memory Tree

A memory tree is a beautiful way to bring a bit of nature into your home while also having the opportunity to reflect on wonderful memories of your loved one. A memory tree can also be used at a funeral or memorial service. Place undecorated tree on a table with tags and pens. Invite guests to jot down a memory and hang it on the tree. This is also an excellent project for children.


  • Branches
  • Paint (acrylic or spray) (optional)
  • Stones and a container such as a pot or bowl (your container should be large enough so it holds enough stones to securely hold the branch) ...or
  • A vase
  • Tags (we used a heart craft punch but you can also purchase pre-punched hearts or ready-made tags)
  • String or glue
  • Pens or markers
  1. Prune the branch to the desired size and look.
  2. Paint the branch (or leave as-is for a natural look).
  3. Fill the container with stones and anchor the branch in the stones - or place the branches in a vase.
  4. Write one memory on each tag and tie or glue them to the branches. Add tags as you recall additional memories.