Celebrating Loved Ones Who Are Gone
As Mother’s Day and Father’s Day approach, families look for ways to let our loved ones know how much they appreciate them. For those who are separated from or have lost a parent or a child due to death or illness, this can be a time of sadness.
Reminiscing about a meaningful time with that loved one is a wonderful way to ease the pain and celebrate the time you had together. The question is, how do you recall those significant memories?
The best way to start is to follow your nose, since the senses are proven to help trigger significant long-term memories. You can also round up some old photos or objects to help you recall significant events from the past.
As you share your memory with others, even a sentence or two can grow into a story. Here are some prompts to get you started:
- Is there a certain aroma, such as a particular perfume, bread baking in the oven or fresh mowed grass, which reminds you of a special time in your life?
- Do sounds, like grating and chopping in the kitchen, a certain song or the slamming of the back porch screen door, trigger any memories?
- Perhaps a piece of jewelry, an article of clothing or furniture reminds you of your loved one.
Once you’ve found them, you can develop a simple ritual or family tradition from these memories such as baking your loved one’s favorite recipe, planting a tree or going fishing. This allows you to celebrate them in your own personal way.
Adapted from In My Mother’s Kitchen: An Introduction to the Healing Power of Reminiscence (copyright Robin A. Edgar, 2002).