Sunday, April 24, 2016

Memories of Our Loved Ones

We all have memories of our loved ones who are alive and especially those who have died. At first, after the death, you won’t be able to concentrate enough to remember much of anything. It will take time to get through the first few steps of your grief journey. You need to get through the anger, shock and bitterness that this has happened to you.

Once you feel comfortable with that, think about memories of your loved one. They can be funny stories, sad events, something that made you so proud, some achievement or some award won. Ask relatives to relate to you something they may remember that you can write down and come back to when the time is right. Ask friends if your child did anything for that friend that they thought was very nice, a holiday related story, an activity or a school event. And in particular, ask her friends what they remember the most about her/him. You’d be surprised how many different responses you’ll get.

Write it all down, until you get about 50 or more memories that contribute to the overall feeling of warmth within you when you think of your child. Keep all these memories so you can look back at them and not forget everything your child did, not only for you or your family, but for others as well and how much they were appreciated and loved.

A few memories come to mind about my daughter, Marcy. She never bragged about them. They were just a natural part of her being and she did them, as she did everything, with love and grace.

I remember a few weeks before she died, California, and specifically the Sherman Oaks area where she lived, had a severe earthquake in January 1994. She called me at 6:30 a.m. to let me know she was under the kitchen table and everything was all right. I laughed since I was asleep and didn’t even know there had been an earthquake. At her funeral, the mother of one of her friend came up to me and said, “I wanted you to know that you had a very special daughter. She found my phone number in Tucson and called me within an hour of the earthquake to let me know that my daughter was safe and sound on the East Coast where she had gone for a short trip. She didn’t want me to worry about not hearing from her after the earthquake. I thanked her profusely, since indeed, I would have worried. She was a very considerate, special person.” Tears came to my eyes. Oh yes, that was something my daughter would have done for a friend without the friend even telling her to do it! I treasure that memory.

In another incident, this one when she was in high school, my daughter was the champion of the lonely, of the new student no one wanted to talk to, and of the underdog in any situation. One day when I came home, she was entertaining someone I had never met before (and I knew all her friends). She introduced us; I could see the girl was very shy and I could hear Marcy telling her what to expect during the year, how others might treat her, but not to worry. She would eventually fit in, and sure enough, by the time she became a senior, this new student was Homecoming Queen. I’m sure my daughter was a big part of helping her achieve that.

Finally, when my daughter and her roommate went to buy a lamp for their living room in Los Angeles, her friend offered to repay Marcy’s kindness of letting her stay with her for many months before moving in permanently, by taking out her credit card first and offering it to the cashier. VISA was having a contest and the long and short of what happened was that the roommate’s purchase won her $1 million. When I heard the story, I said, “Aren’t you jealous that it wasn’t your VISA card that purchased the lamp?” “Oh, no,” Marcy said. “I’m happy for her. She needed the money much more than I did.” Such a non-selfish answer, I thought. Would I have felt the same way? Somehow, I doubt it.

These are the types of memories that keep me going in my darkest hours, even after all these years. I’m sure your memories can do the same for you. Start writing and who knows, you may find your heart warming, the sadness lifting and your smile coming back as you remember your child.

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