Sunday, April 18, 2010

Having Good Memories of Your Child

I have a suggestion for all bereaved parents to call up positive memories of your child.

First you need to find a quiet place in your home with no distractions, sit in a comfortable chair and with pen and paper or on your computer, jot down a few phrases of every good memory you can think of related to your child. Make the memory phrases just long enough so it is clear in your mind. You may end up with 25, 50, or even over 100. They can be in any order of age. You can rearrange later. Make sure they are labeled. They can be labeled by year, by events, by honors, by family gatherings, by humor, or by whatever you’d like.

It may be difficult at first to think of many things because you are consumed by the child’s death, but as time moves forward, many of the memories will return as your mind begins to focus once again.

Go back over these memories and select 10 of them. For each of these 10, write as much as you can remember about the memory. In other words, tell a story. Use these 10 memories when appropriate or relate the story to friends or family members that may live out of town and were not an everyday presence in your child’s life. One of the best places to talk about these memories is at family dinners or holiday events where others may reminisce as well about their children.

When you have gone through these 10 memories with everyone suitable to hear them, put them aside and start on another 10. Repeat these stories to others and so on, so that you always have stories and reasons to talk about your child. You can always come back to many of them, depending on the situation. For example, a story I remember about my daughter I like to talk about relates to when she was in a beauty contest at 4-years-old and was finally called to the stage to be interviewed. Her personality really shinned when she had the whole audience in hysterics as she demonstrated very dramatically with stories and expressions what it was like waiting back stage for hours.

Typically, people will be afraid to bring up your child’s name for fear it will hurt you and make you sad. I think just the opposite happens for me. When someone brings up my child’s name and asks a question, I am so happy to talk about her, and in turn, that shows others they do not have to be afraid that you will be upset. What makes me upset is when others ignore the fact that I even had a child!

Keep these memories in a file so you don’t lose them. However, don’t dwell on them or focus exclusively on them and ignore the present. That is not healthy. These memories will always be fun to look back on years later when the pain is less severe and the memories begin to fade. These are the types of memories you always want to reinforce in your heart and mind because we will never, nor do we want to, forget our children.

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