When we lose a loved one, we often worry that they won’t be remembered, particularly if we’re talking about our children and a grandparent they may not have had many years with. It’s important for parents, even as they’re coping with their own grief, to know that the task of keeping Grandma’s memory alive falls largely to them. Here are few suggestions:
1) Share things your mother liked with your children, and make connections. Whether it’s a favorite movie, book, or recipe, introducing it to your children reveals a part of Grandma that maybe they didn’t know. If they like the thing she liked, they’ll feel more connected to her and will remember her every time they see that movie or make those cookies.
2) Convert possessions to experiences that create new associations and memories. Encourage your children to select a meaningful keepsake or two from among your mother’s possessions, but resist the urge to keep everything. Taking jewelry to a pawn shop in northern Virginia can provide the funds to take the family on a vacation to somewhere that meant something to your mother—a favorite beach, city, or childhood hometown. This gives you an opportunity to share more memories, and create some of your own.
3) Talk about your mother easily. People tend to falsely assume that a grieving person doesn’t want to be “reminded” of a deceased loved one, when the truth is, they’re just trying to avoid discomfort. Show your children that you’re not uncomfortable talking about your mother, because you loved her and want her to be remembered. Children will follow your lead, and talking ensures she is still part of your thought lives and you’re keeping Grandma’s memory alive.