One particular Christmas. I wanted to give my Mum something special. She didn’t need or want anything, so I decided to make her a ‘Memory Book’.
I bought the tiniest of plain notebooks. I sat down and I wrote one thing per page: things I loved about her, things she’d said or done that had made me laugh, things she’d taught me, memories of us, memories of her, things I’d remembered from when I was three…. and I wrote and wrote until I’d filled every page. I called it ‘My Memory Book.’
I wrapped it up lavishly in a piece of golden silk, and tied it with a crimson ribbon. I gave it to her on Christmas day, and for once new that I was giving her something totally priceless.
I watched her face as she unwrapped it. She looked confused and then she started to read it. As she slowly turned the pages, her face crumpled and the tears flowed. Finally she looked up and she said, ‘thank you darling, no-one has ever done this for me before.’
It was a wonderful thing to be able to do: to go through my memories of her while she was still here and to be able to tell her about them. Sitting down and spending the time to think about her in peace, brought up far more memories than would have come up in while we were chatting. I wanted her to know what impact she’d had on my life. You may say ‘well she knows, she’s your mother,’ but we don’t know unless someone tells us do we?
Hearing how much someone loves you is a precious precious gift and it’s no use in a eulogy is it?
If there’s anyone you know who would really enjoy hearing how much of an impact they’ve made on your life, or how much you appreciate them … make one of these. Don’t wait until until they’re terminally ill, or gone.
You may be interested in reading my thoughts on Talking To Our Kids About Death when they’re very young.
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Hide them among the bills and junk mail, lay them on the table first thing in the morning, stashed among the toys, or snuggled up in their bed. You choose where your children find the letters, to create a magical family tradition the kids will love!
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