Keeping memories alive...when someone we love dies, we often fear that we will forget them. We fear that we may forget what they look like, their fragrance, their smile or the sound of their laughter. For a while, those were my fears, I remember a dream I had with Rachel shortly after her death; it was a still photo. I awoke that morning thinking why a photograph, why was it a image of her only? What did it mean? Looking back now I realize that it was my fear of forgetting her, of not having my daughter physically present, only her photographs. But in time, I have come to realize that I haven't forgotten her, will never forget her, I can't forget her. She is on my mind each and every day, and simple things remind me of her presence. Ironically I hear her laughter in her sister's laugh, I see her playfulness in my grandson's antics, and recognize her ways in things her brother does. So many subtle reminders that she is still very much a part of my life.
There are so many ways we can honor and keep alive the memories of those we love. As we approach our Memorial Day Holiday (United States), we remember all those who have died to keep us free. We remember also our loved ones, who shaped us and helped us become the persons we are. This upcoming weekend affords us the ability to remember not only our fallen heroes, but all the heroes in our lives.
But it does not have to be contained in one weekend per year, we can honor and remember our loved ones in various ways throughout the year. In my city, we have memorial runs for deceased members of the community; my brothers participate in motorcycle runs for various causes in memory of my dad, and others who have died from cancer; to name just a few. I honor my daughter's love of life, people and sharing by writing and sharing her story through my blog. Others have set up scholarships, community drives, planted a garden or tree, and so many other ways that are too numerous to list.
|Photo published with permission of Normand Fontaine.|
Recently a friend, along with his family and friends, honored the memory of his wife, Janice, by participating in a fund-raiser, Purple Stride, to help find a cure for pancreatic cancer. It was something he knew that his wife would not only love, it would have been something she would do, and that she would be cheering them on. To make the day even more memorable, he had T-shirts made with a photo of Janice and what she meant to the wearer. It was a wonderful day in which he was surrounded by a loving family and wonderful friends, as you can see from the faces in the photo he forwarded to me. And I truly believe Janice was smiling down upon them, very proud of all of them.
We are only limited to our own limitations when it comes to honoring and remembering our loved ones. Like anything else in our grieving, it is finding what is best for YOU, and what you are comfortable with. A simple memory garden may be all you wish to do; visiting the grave and insuring that there are always fresh flowers or that it is neatly groomed; all these are gestures of remembrance. They all serve to remind us that the person we love, the person who died, is still very much an important part of our lives; that they are not forgotten, and they remain ever present in our hearts. Love is felt even over the chasm that is left by death. We feel their presence, walking beside us, in even the most subtle of ways, and our memories and what we do to relive them, reinforces the love we shared and continue to share with our loved one.
May your memories bring you comfort, and may we always remember our heroes, both national and personal. May their strength and courage serve as a reminder that we all survive,
Invitation: Please feel free to share your own memorial/remembrance stories and photos here on the blog. So many of us gain insight and information from others. A journey shared makes the distance feel so much shorter. Thank you!