Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Words on Wednesday...grief and memories

I am a firm believer that often what we need comes to us. The holidays can be particularly challenging especially if you have lost loved ones.  Last year, I had come across a piece of art by Jennifer Orkin Lewis. Through the magic of google, I saw that she did the cover art on Passed and Present...Keeping the Memories of Loved Ones Alive by Allison Gilbert. Allison writes about the grieving process. She also wrote Always Too Soon: Voices of Support Who Have Lost Both Parents. I had not even considered a book of this sort, but finding them was a gift to ease the sadness of the holidays. I cannot recommend these books highly enough.

Onz also suggested that we make a Pinterest page where we could pin memories. Often if one of us is feeling lonely or nostalgic, we will pin something or look at the page. Just thinking about it evokes the memories of fun times we shared together. 

Emptying the family home has also been a challenge, despite the lack of clutter.  No overwhelming distraction of the enormity of the situation, it is right to the heart of the matter.  My dad lost his parents before he was 30; my mom's father died when she was 11, and her mother, Annie, died when mom was 39.  I have only seen one picture of Annie, taken when she was 66. This was her passport picture, her one and only visit to America. There are no other pictures of my grandparents, or any pictures of my parents until their wedding.The void that I have in my own personal history has made it even more important to try to carefully curate my parents' belongs, so that my kids have a memory and link to the wonderful grandparents that they had. 

As we do this difficult task, I have thought back to some of what Allison wrote about in her book, as well as the kind words of family and friends. My sister, family, and close friends have shared so much love and support. Being able to talk about my parents and the memories of growing up, especially with Nish, has been the source of so much comfort. As we go through my parent's belongings, we think of the significance of all the items, and the good times we associate with them. Together we can keep their memory alive, beyond the mementos. As we move forward, and emulate all of their wonderful qualities, I believe they are still with us and bringing goodness to the world. 




10 comments:

  1. It's never easy to cope with loss, as I well know, and I often try to incorporate old family photos iHugs, Valeriento my art work.

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    1. That is a great idea, Valerie. That way you are doing something you love and thinking of someone you love.

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  2. The legacy of our parents is us. We are their hopes and dreams. When parents pass, we take their place as the Elders. I find comfort in being a link in a chain. As they kept their previous generation alive through mementos and stories, it falls to us pick up the mantel and keeping the story alive. A quote from Doctor Who (the 11th Doctor) We are all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh.

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  3. I lost my mother when I was 20, and my dad nearly 20 years ago. I would have loved to have had these books then. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. My heart goes out to you Karen. I have so many happy memories of my parents. I can't imagine what it would have been like to go through my big life moments without them. You must have incredible strength. You still may want to read Always Too Soon. A really quick read, with an amazing variety of stories.Thought provoking and inspiring.

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  4. You know from my ancestry research, I've been able to see that my relatives in the 1800-mid-1900's had shorter lifespan than my most of my ancestors before that. I'm curious what had changed-the industrial revolution, more crowded conditions, famine? Hmm. Its curious. Its hard to lose your parents, even when you are an adult. And you keep missing them too. Those bonds that tie us are really strong, aren't they? Interesting post. hope I didn't babble too much. Hugs-Erika

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    1. Definitely not too long Erica. I will have to look into Ancestry research. I think it would be fascinating. You are right about the bonds too. I feel mine are so strong still. I am always looking for signs. I think that is the Irish in me; we are strong believers in the mystical/spirit world.

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  5. I've been an "only" all my life, and I've had no living relatives since my grandparents died when I was 19. It was hard reading this, but at least you had others to help and support you. My pain is finally subdued, but it would have been good to read that book.

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    1. Elizabeth, my heart goes out to you. I do hope you have memories and good friends to support you. It must have been incredibly difficult. You must have a lot of internal strength. I am sending you a hug, and a wish for comfort and happy moments.

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