An open crimson memory box, full of items such as photographs jewellery, dried flowers, festival wrist band, watch, gift tags, cards and old toy car

A bereavement memory box is the name of a box that contains keepsakes to remember someone who has sadly passed. These can be made from wood, strong card or could be an item the deceased owned themselves which you repurpose. Filling the memory box and looking through it in the future are both therapeutic activities which can help with the grieving process.

A memory box can really be any type of box that holds items, a shoe box, gift box, jewellery box, whatever fits the contents you want to put inside! There are also a large variety of memory boxes available online to buy. Often these can be personalised such as the beautiful wooden boxes created by Little Things By Lucy.

They don’t need to be specific bereavement memory boxes, you can search the internet for keepsake boxes or memory boxes. Keepsake boxes are often used to store baby items to remember a person’s childhood or memories from a wedding day. There’s no reason they can’t be used for bereavement memories, especially when you can personalise them. Sellers will be more than happy to accommodate your requests.

A pale wooden memory box with a light yellow capital A on the lid. A pink ribbon with engraved heart charm are on the clasp of the box

What do you put inside a bereavement memory box?

You can put anything inside a memory box that reminds you of your loved one or brings back particular memories. Here are some ideas:

  • Photographs – times you spent together, important gatherings, and snapshots of their younger selves.
  • Lock of hair
  • Tickets to events, shows or travel
  • Handwriting – greetings cards, lists, notes
  • Clothing – their favourites items or those that hold special memories
  • Jewellery
  • Awards/certificates
  • Perfumes/aftershave

Keepsake ideas for a baby’s memory box

When babies are only with us for such a short time it can feel especially important to keep all their memories safe. Below are some extra ideas, to those mentioned above, of items that can go in their memory box:

  • Details of birth information – time/weight etc.
  • The items baby was wrapped in after birth, hat, teddy, items that accompanied your little one’s short time with you
  • Hospital bands
  • Antenatal notes and scan images
  • Photographs will be cherished for years to come. If parents can’t face taking photos there are charities such as Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep and Remember My Baby who will come to the hospital and take professional photographs, and of course the midwives will always be on hand to help. Although it may be too painful for parents to think about taking photos when they are experiencing the deepest sadness, they will be thankful in the future that they did.
  • Foot and hand prints – the hospital will often help with this. As well as keeping the original prints you can use these prints to create framed keepsakes alongside a photograph, or perhaps get them imprinted on some jewellery.
  • Parents may want to purchase two identical outfits, one for baby, another to keep.
  • A similar idea of sharing something with baby would be Heart in their Hand keepsakes which can be split, one half staying with the parents, the other buried with their child.

Tommy’s also offer more in depth advice and information around the topic of ‘Remembering Your Baby’

Tiny baby's feet and legs sticking out of a white blanket. The baby is laid on white fur fabric.

Bereavement memory boxes for children

Memory boxes are also useful for children to understand their loved one isn’t returning and process the grief. Once the child is ready, try and encourage them to fill the box with items that remind them of their loved one, remember the fun they had, perhaps toys they played with together, books they read. Photographs of days out or holidays.

If you are supporting a bereaved child or would like more advice and information then please visit Winston’s Wish.