Gifts for the Journey

by MSO
old wedding photos with clock and flowers

Bob Dylan said, “Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them” but you can take some of your cherished memories with you.

It is customary, in some religions, to place gifts in coffins to be brought with them to the next life. These can be meaningful or expensive – jewellery that has meaning embedded in faith or lifelong commitment (for example, a wedding ring or military badges) is something that people generally put in. If the deceased is a child, then usually the parents would put a treasured toy in the casket, such as a teddy bear or a small toy car.

Elaborate arrangements of flowers are very common in funerals, but sometimes they are placed in the coffin. A pink carnation means “I’ll never forget you”, and a red rose means “In memoriam”.

Meaningful tokens can also be placed inside – if the deceased loved knitting, someone might place some knitting needles and wool, or a baseball if they were a baseball fan. If the body is to be cremated, certain things should not go in the coffin, such as bottles or certain articles of clothing.

More and more families are choosing to add personal items to the coffins of their loved ones. Gifts, whether religious or for nostalgic purposes, can help the mourners feel better that the person would remain attached to the items that they cherished throughout their life.

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