Sunday, November 2, 2014

Will I Forget My Child?

Will I forget my child after so long? The answer is “No, you will never forget.” Others may stop talking about your child, but there are ways to make sure she is not forgotten by you or your friends and family. Talk about your child. Tell a story about him/her. Ask the friend or relative if they remember that incident or any other you might enjoy hearing from them. Don’t let them pretend your child never existed or, worse, that you don’t want anyone to talk about them because it hurts so badly.

Not a day passes that I don’t think about my child and all that she is missing…all that I am missing. I try to keep written accounts of memorable events as they come to mind, because even those may fade after a while, and if I can look back and remember my precious child with love, it is a gift. Parents can also post memories on and share your child with others who care.

It has only been the last 20 or so years that people started talking about death…particularly the death of a child. Before then, it was swept under the table and everyone, including parents, pretended it never happened. It was a taboo subject, and no books were written about how to cope. “The Bereaved Parent” by Harriet Schiff brought death to the fore-front in a realistic, helpful way for all to understand. From there, parents started pouring their hearts out in personal books so others could benefit from their experiences, which were then confirmed by grief counselors and psychologists, who also wrote books. Today there are hundreds of books, some personal, some informational. Both of the books I wrote are personal and informational.

There are many ways to pay tribute to the life and legacy, the memory and love for those who have died? Common ones include: a beautiful headstones in the cemetery, a personal website or even a site for all who knew her to share, memorial service, scholarships and anniversary celebrations.

Other ways are memorial jewelry (I have a necklace with my daughter’s picture embossed on the gold), setting up a foundation so others may benefit (I have done this also), memorial bricks in well-known buildings (I have many), tree planting (my former school has planted a tree with a plaque in her memory), DVD of pictures with music (I have this), service projects done in her memory, balloon or butterfly or dove release, articles of clothing or sleepwear made from clothing that belonged to her, jewelry and clothing of hers distributed to friends and those in need, and collages of photos of the child during his/her lifetime.

There are many, many more and if you’d like to tell me about something you’ve done that has been helpful to you, send me an email and I’d be happy to print them in an upcoming column.

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