One of the most uplifting gifts I’ve ever heard of giving someone in a time of loss is a wicker basket full of daffodil bulbs. The idea is for the recipient to plant one bulb for every year the loved one lived. Daffodils are the perfect flower for such a happiness-inducing project: as perennials, they’ll come back spring after spring—and they’re virtually indestructible. And, the best time of year to plant daffodils is the fall!
Have you ever heard “These Foolish Things”? The song recounts a long list of sights, sounds, and objects that conjure up memories of loved ones. Take a listen here. With a nod to this popular standard, go back to that restaurant you enjoyed together. Return to the hotel. And if, for you, this idea involves getting into nature, consider the enormous emotional benefits I write about in Passed and Present that stem from being outdoors (Forget Me Not #85).
My dad always wore neckties to work, so after he passed away, I hired The Gazebo to turn them into a quilt. The quilt brings back lots of happy memories, recollections I can now share with my children who never got to know their grandfather. You can see a picture of this beautiful quilt here. But discovering opportunities for upcycling other types of fabric is often more challenging. What to do with table linens, kitchen towels, aprons, and placemats?
In my book, Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Alive, Forget Me Not #10 reveals several ways to repurpose fabric not usual considered for memorial projects. Nancy Roy, owner of Totes with Tales (www.toteswithtales.com), uses virtually any kind of fabric to create one-of-a-kind bags customers can use every day.
After my father died, my stepmother longed for a quiet place outdoors to think about my dad. Cheryl’s ideal spot ended up being a secluded spot right in her backyard. She cleared out a few weeds, bought an iron bench at a garage sale, and that was about it. A refuge was born. You can read more about this idea and many others in Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Alive.
My favorite part of Cheryl’s retreat is the path she made to get there. She gathered a large number of medium-sized stones and carefully positioned them one after the other until a line of rocks stretched from the side of the house to the bench. [Read more…]
My mother died when she was 57. In the two decades she’s been gone, I’ve discovered a critical lesson for healing: The more I take steps to actively remember her — the more I acknowledge what she still means to me — the happier I am. This is because remembering is essential for healing. Absence and presence can coexist and fully embracing this concept is what gives us the greatest strength to move forward. Especially if you’ve lost your mom and Mother’s Day fills you with unease. There are plenty of uplifting ways to celebrate her memory and doing so can bring you a terrific amount of joy.
Here are four of my favorite Forget-Me-Not ideas for remembering and honoring moms who are no longer with us, taken from my book, Passed and Present:
Turning clothing into objects you can appreciate every day is a poignant way to keep the memory of loved ones alive. A few years after my father died, I made a quilt out of his colorful assortment of neckties. You can undertake this kind of project by yourself or with the help of others. For the quilt crafted out of my dad’s ties, I worked with the online company, The Gazebo. Below are six more of my favorite ideas for repurposing jackets, shirts, pants, and other articles of clothing:
Today begins a national movement to make remembering loved ones as fun and joyful as a birthday party or wedding. Come join individuals across the country — in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Minneapolis, among many other cities — for a MEMORY BASH. Together, we’ll celebrate and learn new ways to remember the family and friends we never want to forget.
What Is A Memory Bash?
A Memory Bash is an excuse to get together as a group — eating, drinking, and having a great time — while celebrating loved ones who have passed away in the company of others drawn to do the same. It’s a joyful, innovative idea I write about in Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Alive. There are Memory Bashes taking place coast to coast. Locations and times can be found by going to my website, www.allisongilbert.com. Even more information is available in this very short video.
The bright yellow pop of daffodils around my neighborhood reminds me of one of the most creative ideas I’ve come across for keeping memories of loved ones alive. Read on for this innovative springtime strategy and two others.
Grow Daffodils. In a time of loss, give a wicker basket full of daffodil bulbs. The strategy here is for the recipient to plant, if possible, one bulb for every year the loved one lived. Daffodils are the perfect flower for such a happiness-inducing project: as perennials, they’ll come back spring after spring—and they’re virtually indestructible.
It’s my birthday this week! I still love my birthday. The day brings back wonderful memories of my mom and dad who always made the day special. In the years since they’ve passed away, I’ve continued making the day extraordinary — not just for me, but in celebration of their memory. I do this by taking extra care of myself, carving out time to see friends and indulging in foods that make me happy (slice of chocolate cake, anyone?).
It’s in this mindset — celebration over sadness — that I wrote my forthcoming book, Passed and Present. It’s full of fun, innovative ideas for keeping the memory of loved ones alive. I call these ideas Forget Me Nots. One of my favorite Forget Me Nots is hosting a Memory Bash. Similar to a birthday party or book club, a Memory Bash is an excuse to get together as a group — eating, drinking, and having a great time — but in this case, the focus is celebrating loved ones who have passed away in the company of others drawn to do the same. It’s a joyful concept I simply love!
My mother was losing her battle with ovarian cancer when Mark asked me to marry him. Because she likely wouldn’t make it to our wedding, my thoughtful husband-to-be went out of his way to include her in every secret and elaborate strategy he had for his proposal. Mark made sure my mom knew exactly where it was going to happen and when, and he lovingly elevated her role in the planning to full-on co-conspirator by involving her in the ruse to get me exactly where I needed to be that day. Mark and I celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary this year and I remain just as grateful today as I did back then for what he did for me, but especially my mom, two decades ago.
Mom didn’t live to see us get married but she was very much part of the wedding. Most couples also want their loved ones to be part of the ceremony and celebration. Below I share five opportunities for including those you’ve lost in your special day.