50+ Bittersweet Memorial Tattoos to Honor Your Loved Ones

Nothing can ever replace being with a loved one, but if they've passed on, a memorial tattoo is a lovely way to keep their legacy alive. Whether it's something tiny or an elaborate piece of art that takes up your whole arm, there's no shortage of memorial tattoo ideas out there.

Getting an "in loving memory" tattoo inked in honor of someone you love and admire can also be a therapeutic part of the grieving process. For many, it's a permanent way to keep a loved one close when they physically can't be there anymore, as well as a permanent reminder of the memories and love you will always carry. Since it's a permanent symbol of remembrance, you want to be 100 percent sure about the design and tattoo you choose. If you're struggling to think of some inspiration, we recommend brainstorming about something that has always stuck with you, a symbolic reminder that represents what they mean to you, or a vivid memory you have of them.

Whether you're searching for simple memorial tattoos or just general tattoos for lost loved ones, we've got some ideas. Here are some real-life examples of memorial tattoos to get you thinking.

Single-Needle Angel Wings Memorial Tattoo

This single-needle, small in-memory tattoo features angel wings and a halo with a significant date. Whether it's the date you lost a loved one or someone's birthday, this is a gret memorial tattoo idea.

Paw Prints Memorial Tattoo

If you're looking for dog memorial tattoo ideas, this paw print design is perfect. It's tiny, but it has a big impact. The saying means "until we meet again."

Polaroid Photo Memorial Tattoo

This in loving memory tattoo features a polaroid, which is a great way to pay tribute to a loved one, especially if you have a photograph with them that you want to remember forever.

Mother and Daughter Memorial Tattoo

This gorgeous sketch tattoo would is a great example of a memorial tattoo for mom. Whether you want to pay tribute to your relationship or just have a constant reminder of your love.

Name Memorial Tattoo

Sometimes, the best memorial tattoo idea is something simple, like getting the name of a loved one tattooed on you. This would make a good memorial tattoo for Dad or Mom.

Honor You Memorial Tattoo

If you're looking for a tattoo in loving memory, this ink featuring a quote and set of dates is beautiful. It reads: "I survived, so I'll continue to honour you."

Baby Blue Angel Wings Memorial Tattoo

We love this memorial tattoo with footprints and angel wings. This might be an in loving memory tattoo for an infant, or a tattoo for grief.

Watering Can Memorial Tattoo

If the person you are looking to pay tribute to was a fan of gardening or flowers, this watering can tattoo would be a perfect idea. We love this as a memorial tattoo for mom, or for grandma.

Butterfly in Flight Memorial Tattoo

Butterflies are often seen as symbols of lost loved ones. This example makes a great in loving memory tattoo, especially if you want to keep the meaning private.

Cursive First and Last Name Memorial Tattoo

This memorial tattoo features a loved one's name, but there are added floral details. You could opt to get the person's favorite flower next to their name, or possibly one that reminds you of them.

Pretty Poppies Memorial Tattoo

This memorial features a note written in a loved one's handwriting. It's a memorial tattoo for dad, and reads: "I love you! Dad."

Portrait and Flower Memorial Tattoo

We love the idea of paying tribute to someone with a portrait. It makes a great memorial tattoo, and you can choose to use an image of them that you love best.

Mom & Dad Memorial Tattoo

This memorial tattoo for dad and mom features a butterfly and the words "Mom" and "Dad." It's a great example of a tattoo for grief.

Person Line Drawing Memorial Tattoo

This is a great example of a simple tattoo for a lost loved one. It's a memorial tattoo that only you need to know the meaning of, unless you want to share it.

Special Dates Memorial Tattoo

This memory tattoo features special dates and a rose. The date of birth and death make a sweet in loving memory tattoo.

Always and Forever Memorial Tattoo

This memorial tattoo for mom showcases a tattoo of a handwritten note and a dragonfly. The note reads: "Love always and forever!! - Mom."

Compass Memorial Tattoo

This compass is a great example of a simple memorial tattoo, especially if you and your loved one enjoyed exploring or traveling together.

Red Rose Heart Memorial Tattoo

This small memory tattoo is a great example of a simple remembrance tattoo. It's tiny, but if you have a loved one in mind when you get it, it still has a big impact.

Circle of Life Memorial Tattoo

This memorial tattoo has a few elements we love. It features a special date, as well as a flower blooming.

Dove Memorial Tattoo

This memorial tattoo features a dove and the words, "I love you the most." Doves typically symbolize freedom.

Lavender Memorial Tattoo

This simple memorial tattoo features lavender and a quote that reads, "I love you so much."

Rose Petals Memorial Tattoo

This rose tattoo near the ankle would make a great memorial tattoo, specifically if your loved one's favorite flower was a rose.

Flower-Filled Portrait Memorial Tattoo

This flower-filled portrait is a great in-loving memory tattoo. You can feature the person you've lost and incorporate their favorite flower.

Lots of Love Memorial Tattoo

We love this memorial tattoo featuring a flower and a note from a loved one. This is a great example of a memorial tattoo for mom.

Bold Script Name Memorial Tattoo

This memorial tattoo features a name written in bold script and is placed on the forearm.

Handwritten Script Memorial Tattoo

If you're looking to get a matching memory tattoo with a loved one, why not consider the name of the person you are looking to pay tribute to? We love this one written in a fancy script.

Birth Flower Memorial Tattoo

Getting a birth flower is a great example of a simple tattoo for lost loved ones. It can be private, so you only know what it means unless you choose to share it with others.

Handwritten Signature Memorial Tattoo

This handwritten signature makes an amazing in loving memory tattoo. It reads, "love dad," and would make a great memorial tattoo for dad.

Feather Infinity Memorial Tattoo

This feather infinity tattoo pays tribute to a lost brother. It reads, "my brother, my friend."

Loving Words Memorial Tattoo

This quote shaped into a heart is a beautiful simple memorial tattoo. It has a quote from a famous E. E. Cummings poem.

Red Rose With Leaves

This tattoo for lost loved ones features a red rose and names. It reads, "Mama, Papa, Joe." The design makes a great memorial tattoo for grandpa or grandma.

More Time Memorial Tattoo

We love the idea of an intricate memorial tattoo featuring a clock and roses, especially if you're reminiscing on the times you've spent with a loved one.

Iris Memorial Tattoo

This iris tattoo also features a note from someone's grandmother and reads, "love ya." It makes a great memorial tattoo for grandma.

Hummingbird Memorial Tattoo

This tattoo showcases a hummingbird with special dates written underneath. It's a nice in loving memory tattoo that you can view whenever you are missing your loved one.

Watercolor Paw Print

This watercolor paw print is a beautiful way to pay tribute to a lost pet. It's a great dog memorial tattoo idea, but it works for a cat as well.

Robin Memorial Tattoo

This memorial tattoo features a robin and flowers. A robin typically symbolizes good luck and happiness.

Orchid Branch Memorial Tattoo

This small in-memory tattoo is of a handwritten note and flowers. This is a nice example of a memorial tattoo for grandpa, especially if you have a note in his handwriting.

Bird on a Branch Memorial Tattoo

This memorial tattoo of a bird on a branch is a stunning way to show love for someone who has passed on. It's a simple memorial tattoo but if cherry blossoms and robins are special to you and your loved one, you'll be able to cherish its meaning.

Cursive Name Memorial Tattoo

A cursive name tattoo is a classic way to pay tribute to a loved one. This example is extremely colorful, and features what looks to be a lily.

Butterfly With Floral Wings Memorial Tattoo

This butterfly is half drawn with a floral design, which is a beautiful twist on a classic illustration. We also love the addition of the Roman numerals.

Minimal Leaves Memorial Tattoo

Looking for a subtle tattoo for grief? Ink behind the ear can easily be hidden or shown off, depending on your mood.

Blue Poppies

This blue poppy tattoo is one of our favorite memorial tattoo ideas. The flower typically represents imagination. This tattoo was a memorial piece for the person's grandmother.

Intricate Skull Memorial Tattoo

This intricate skull tattoo is a beautiful memorial tattoo idea. Whether you want to do something similar with a loved one's portrait or you both loved similar artwork, it makes a great in loving memory tattoo.

Memorable Numbers Memorial Tattoo

This number tattoo is a great example of a simple in loving memory tattoo. Whether the numbers you choose are a special date or they mean something private to only you and your loved one, this is a nice choice for a small in memory tattoo.

Paw Print Memorial Tattoo

This simple paw print tattoo is a great dog memorial tattoo idea. It's placed on the foot, so both of your feet can be together forever.

Pet Outline Memorial Tattoo

This outline of a pet is another simple memorial tattoo idea that pays tribute to an animal rather than doing the traditional paw print.

Dragonfly Memorial Tattoo

This dragonfly with a handwritten note from someone's mom is a great memorial tattoo for mom. It features lots of flowers as well.

Fingerprint Memorial Tattoo

This fingerprint tattoo is a beautiful option for memorial tattoos for dad. This is a larger version, but it could be condensed into a smaller size for the perfect small in-memory tattoo.

Name Infinity Memorial Tattoo

This memorial tattoo features names written into an infinity sign. It can symbolize that your love for those in the tattoo lasts for infinity.

Small Footprint Memorial Tattoo

This memorial tattoo is of a small footprint, a special date, and loved one's name written in their own handwriting.

Always With You Memorial Tattoo

This memorial tattoo showcases Roman numerals and the word "always." It's a geometric diamond but it's filled with flowers that have a special meaning to the owner of the tattoo.

Baby Details Footprint Memorial Tattoo

This memorial tattoo features handwritten details drawn into the shape of a small footprint. It includes a birth date as well as a birth weight and height.

Two Birds Memorial Tattoo

We love this memory tattoo, which features flying birds and the words "Love Dad" written in script. It makes a great memorial tattoo for dad.

Sunflower Memorial Tattoo

This sunflower tattoo featuring the word "strength" and a special date is a great simple in loving memory tattoo. There are so many symbols in one.

To Keep You Company Memorial Tattoo

This memorial tattoo features a handwritten note that says, "to keep you company after I leave." It's a great example of a memorial tattoo for mom that features gorgeous flowers.

I Carry Your Heart Memorial Tattoo

This memorial tattoo features a quote from an E. E. Cummings poem. It's surrounded by black and white leaves.

— Additional reporting by Renee Rodriguez