Sunday, June 23, 2013

Talking About Memorabilia

In my bereavement group that meets once every other month, one of the mothers wanted to do a program where we all brought some memorabilia from our child and said why it was so special. She said it could be a piece of clothing, honors won, trophies from school activities, photos of a special vacation or anything we wanted. We recently met and did this project.

I believe we all thought it was a great idea. Why? First, we get to talk about our child and how proud we were of perhaps an award won in school or a picture of the wedding day or clothing we still kept for a special reason. Second, most bereaved parents want to talk about their child for any reason so they won’t be forgotten by others.

I know no one in my group will forget my daughter, even though they never met. I try very hard to always remember something she did that I can bring into a conversation both at these meetings or just with friends who have never lost a child. It is always interesting to see the reactions from others. Some just smile. Others ask questions about her and what she was like. That is a good moment.

We all know the names of the sons or daughters who died far too young for so many different reasons in our bereavement group. Our meetings are a comfortable place to talk about them, tell stories, laugh and even shed some tears. Our programs vary. Sometimes we just talk about what is bothering us, sometimes we have guest speakers. And other times we do something related to our child, such as we did at this meeting.

I have four precious boxes of my daughter’s belongings which I never intend to get rid of as long as I’m alive. I knew exactly which box to go to…the one with all the awards she won in grammar school, high school and in organizations she belonged to. My, there were so many. I’d forgotten many of them, so going through the box brought back good memories. I decided to take a few of the trophies and ribbons she had won in school for speeches, drama, writings and art. I knew she was very talented but bringing back those memories are difficult. I was definitely excited to show them at the meeting and talk about all the things she had accomplished.

Some of the other parents talked and showed the following: Donna had a cute pair of baby tennis shoes, a fancy dress, a child’s purse, a beautiful photo and tassel from her graduation; Sheila showed her son’s real baby shoes she’d had white bronzed; Ronnie had a memory box she hangs on the wall with different mementos of her son’s likes, his time in the service and a necklace; Basia showed her son’s outfit when he was brought home from the hospital and some awards; and Dianne had an acoustic guitar her son adored plus a collage of pictures she had framed with a small guitar on the frame. All these things were passed around for viewing and we really enjoyed looking at them.

If in a bereavement group where you live, I invite you to try this or some similar program for one of your meetings.