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Alexander Residence: My Memory Book

Thursday, 24 March 2011

My Memory Book

One of my tasks for this month was to help my 4yo daughter create a Memory book about my Mum who died in January.  Luckily her keyworker at pre-school has kicked this off, as it was a job my subconscious kept putting off.  Must find the perfect scrapbook, must print off all the photos and put in order first, must set aside a quiet time.  I am a planner, and its not always a good thing, because sometimes 'planning' slips into terrible procrastination.

Miss L, like Mr A, is much more flexible, woe betide anyone who puts obstacles in the way of them starting a new project immediately.  Miss L told her keyworker she needed to do the memory book there and then.  The introduction she narrated to her keyworker was mind blowing.  Some of the memories weren't altogether memories, they were special things she imagined doing with Gran.  It's really helping her.

Miss L also started a 'remember garden' a patch of the garden where she can plant whatever she likes (sunflower seeds in early february, apple pips, pre cut flowers, lego, pirate treasure), it's decorated with plastic insects because my mum had a lifelong fascination with them.  Again, 'later' was not an option, it had to be done 'now'. 

Grieving alongside a child of Miss L's age has been therapeutic in a way I would never have anticipated.  Getting stuck and procrastination is not possible; a child's grief needs to be tackled head on.  There is also lots of opportunity to be creative.   Last night I started my scrapbook too.  I have accepted there is no order to it, it's a place to stick things in or note things down as I come across them, because the grieving process is a series of random rememberings. 

I started with the homemade gift tags which my Mum put on a bagful of presents she gave me to help me through my first term at university.  The bag was decorated to look like a prescription from the chemist and each gift had special instructions for the kind of circumstances in which I was to open them.  'Feeling stressed?' or 'No money want some fun?' 

Mum was a genius at helping us to manage change, I know how much she would approve of our memory books.
Are you a planner or a do-er?

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At 10 April 2011 at 14:06 , Anonymous AlexanderResidence said...

Thank you, glad you found it interesting. I thought I 'should have'
recorded more stuff before mum died, but I dont have any regrets
because I think it's really important to live in the now.
Even the scrapbook is about making sense of the past so I can be
happier now, filing stuff! I think it's fine to let memories be
organic, not to force them. Do you know what I mean?
It's a fascinating topic, you've got me thinking. Esp when person
involved is losing memory xx

At 10 April 2011 at 14:06 , Anonymous helloitsgemma said...

Really great post, God your mum sounds amazing. Thanks for writing this, interesting; not just the memory book but greiving. Throws up so many thoughts. I sometimes wonder if I should make one of these just as I go along, as you never know what's round the corner.

At 10 April 2011 at 14:06 , Anonymous AlexanderResidence said...

Thank you. It feels as if it's carrying on all her good work and sound

At 10 April 2011 at 14:06 , Anonymous AletheaHill said...

Oh that is such a beautiful post! So amazing that she is helping you without even realising it!
I'm sure the book will become a treasured possession, and be filled with lovely memories for you both to treasure.

At 10 April 2011 at 14:06 , Anonymous AlexanderResidence said...

Ha ha, I think that describes me too!
It was a really fab idea, I will be doing something similar when my two finally leave the nest.

At 10 April 2011 at 14:06 , Anonymous AlexanderResidence said...

Thank you. I think we all need to do both, we just have natural tendencies towards one or the other! Not stalkerish at all, thanks for your wishes :)

At 10 April 2011 at 14:06 , Anonymous AlexanderResidence said...

Maybe it's just about sowing the seed in their heads and letting them take the lead. Someone told me to see a child's grief as a ladder, you stay a step behind and let them lead you. I'm finding that a useful image x

At 10 April 2011 at 14:06 , Anonymous themadhouse said...

I havent started one yet for the boys, I must. I am normally a doer and a planner, I am a freelance project manager, so need to be both!

At 10 April 2011 at 14:06 , Anonymous Laura said...

What a lovely, thought provoking post. I think I do both - often I'll get half way through something and think; I should of planned better. Like you I often procrastinate on important things, I have a sense that it has to be "perfect". Which is clearly not true. Your books sound fantastic. As does your Mum - what a loving gift for uni. Wishing you all well in your grieving process (I hope that didn't come across too stalkerish..)

At 10 April 2011 at 14:06 , Anonymous Lexie Martin said...

I think I'm a planner but in the sense that it's only ever a vague plan and it will never ever come to fruition. The memory books and 'remember garden' are such good ideas.
PS. I am totally going to borrow your mum's amazing University gift bag package idea - what a lovely lovely thing to do.


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