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?