Remembering Our Loved Ones
When you dig deep into your memories, there are core memories that stand out. They are the ones that you could never imagine forgetting. Maybe it was your wedding day, the birth of a child, or maybe it was the time that you made cookies with your mom and all seemed right with the world.
One of my mom’s deepest fears was that her youngest grandchildren would not remember her. Realistically, she knew that they didn’t have time to develop those core memories of her. My two children, now five and two, did not have twenty years of Christmas celebrations and birthdays to remember. They did not have multiple outings and time to share their secrets with her.
So how can we, the caregivers, help others to remember our loved ones?
1. Talk about them often.
Share the stories that are a part of your core memories. Talk about how much they loved you and how much they’re still a part of your life. The more that you share about them, the more that they are still alive in your heart.
My son remembers my mom a little, but my daughter really doesn’t remember her very much. She was only a year and a half when mom left for heaven, so I cannot expect her to remember mom on her own. I need to tell her about how mom took care of her. How she would hold her while she slept and gaze at her as she played. I have to tell her how they would touch fingers, as if pointing to each other was a secret handshake.
2. Take tons of pictures and videos.
My mom would hide from the camera. She didn’t want to be remembered sick, but oh how I wish that I would have convinced her otherwise. There are a few photos that I was able to capture, and they are so precious now. I couldn’t imagine not having them.
Videos are a great way to capture the essence of someone. You can record their laugh, mannerisms, and even that look that you get when you bring out the camera. The one thing that I miss is my mom’s voice. I wish that I had taken more videos, if only to have more of her voice.
3. Help your loved one write a book.
I don’t mean a 350 page masterpiece. Although, if that is not too daunting, by all means do that. I’m talking about using a guide to record information about your loved one, their family, and old stories. Can you imagine the number of amazing stories that have been lost because they were never written down? These types of books can be found in your local bookstore or online. They are labeled as a mother or father’s legacy or a memory journal.
Sometimes we need to choose how to remember someone. Maybe there were some harsh or hurtful words spoken at the end of life. Maybe something happened years ago that you have not forgiven. This is all a part of how they will be remembered. The memories that you continually visit are the ones that will shape the way that you see your loved one after they are gone. You can choose to remember the last argument, or you can choose to remember the laughter and hugs. You are the one to decide.