Memories - Making and Keeping
Memories are made naturally throughout life and are created from attending special occasions, outings and sometimes simply through daily, spontaneous funny or moving moments. For families caring for a child with a life-limiting illness there is a heightened importance in retaining these memories so they can be revisited and drawn upon after the child’s death.
Some examples of memory making include:
- Time spent with family and friends
- Sibling/family activities such as cooking together, games
- Day trips and outings such as having a picnic or going to the zoo
Memory Keeping is an invaluable tool for children and their families. Creating tangible memorabilia can help express our meaningful life experiences and relationships and therefore strengthen and sharpen our natural memories and protect them from fading. Through memory keeping children, teens and caregivers can process feelings, communicate their wishes, needs and love for each other.
During memory keeping families also feel comforted and empowered. Memories can reaffirm that loved ones will go on living in our hearts and minds, and that they will always be an important part of who we are. Memory Keeping also helps in the grief process as it helps the individual to retain the memories and connections in place.
Siblings of a dying child may be confused and have different emotions, including sadness, anger, helplessness and guilt. Children often find difficulty expressing these feelings and helping them to make their own memories can bring comfort.
Memory Keeping can be done to suit personal, cultural or religious beliefs and traditions. Although Memory Keeping might be introduced as an idea, it is recognised that it is very personal for each family and therefore individual preferances should always be respected.
Some examples of Memory Keeping may include:
- Ink/paint/plaster hand and footprints
- Photographs and video footage (for example Heartfelt Photography)
- Lock of hair
- Comfort objects- blanket, cuddly toy
- Special items of clothes
- Scrapbooking photos or craft
- Memory Box to store some of these special items listed above
- Planting a tree or creating a garden
- Journaling lists of favourite sayings, toys, foods etc
- Bravery beads
- Other memory making ideas that are individualised with music, art and play (e.g. writing and recording a song together)