Straight From a Remembering Heart
By Lisa Elliott
As we know, this month we celebrated Remembrance Day. It is important to take time to “remember” those who fought for the freedom that we experience today. Remembering is an important part of our ability to not only be reminded of but to appreciate our past. Remembering is therapeutic and brings healing as we laugh over funny events or cry over sad ones. Remembering keeps a piece of our past alive.
With this in mind, it seems appropriate to tell you about a timely Facebook message I received the other day that gave me my own cause to remember. It was from one of my son, Ben’s best friends when Ben was alive. He felt impressed to share a significant memory he had of him and Ben. It was inspired by something I wrote a while back about how to break the awkward and uncomfortable silence that people face when they have lost a loved one.
As I read his recollection, my heart was transported to another time, and yet it was as if it happened that morning! I could visualize it. I could feel it. I could even hear Ben’s voice along with it. My senses were fully alive as I breathed it all in. It was as if a part of Ben was resurrected in that moment. A part of Ben I wasn’t even aware of and one that I could only see through the eyes of his friend. Through my tears I felt my heart begin to smile as I basked in the sweet memories of the particular event that had been so sensitively shared with me.
I have regular opportunities to share our journey through Ben’s illness from a speaking platform. On one occasion I was asked if it digs up my grief and the pain of my loss to have to share about Ben’s life and death. My response was simple, “There’s nothing to dig up. Memories of Ben are complete and instant recall, just at the mention of his name.” And, in fact, it helps keep my memories alive to hear his name! You see, the only memories I have of Ben are those that were already made. There won’t be any new ones of him. That is a grief all on its own.
One of our greatest fears after Ben passed was forgetting about him. We were, therefore, desperate to uncover some ways in which we could honor his memory. The following are a few ways we either came across or put into place ourselves. Making memories and honoring our loved ones is very personal, and therefore will be different for everyone.
Christmas will be here before we know it. As it approaches, “DON’T FORGET about those grieving the loss of a loved one.
Consider putting to use one of the following practical tips:
CREATIVE WAYS TO HONOUR/REMEMBER YOUR LOVED ONE
- Make a picture album or scrapbook of family memories
- Create a display area in your home
- Make some kind of special garden
- Plant a tree
- Fresh flowers next to a special picture
- Think of something you can do to celebrate special occasions (birthday, Christmas etc.)
-A special meal
-Serve your loved one’s favourite snack
-A Christmas ornament
- Special picture frame with special picture
- Develop a charitable event (golf tournament, marathon, concert, etc)
- Set up a fund that will go toward others in a similar crisis Eg. We have a BENevolent Fund we use from proceeds from “The Ben Ripple” as well as funerals my husband performs.
- Write a letter to the deceased
- Create a special memorial room
- Write a song
- Find a special place for significant personal items (favorite hats, watch, blanket)
- Make a CD of your loved one’s favorite music
- Invest in a candle or lantern that can be lit on special occasions or “missing moments” to acknowledge your loved one’s absence.
(Excerpt from, “The Ben Ripple; Choosing to Live through Loss with Purpose” p. 183)
Memories are a gift from the Lord. Without those memories, we lose sight not only of people and events of the past, but also of God and His faithfulness in those moments in time. That’s really what I want to remember; God’s faithfulness. How he provided. What He accomplished. Where and how He led me. Lessons He taught me. Much like Moses told the Israelites to do .
“When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” (Deuteronomy 8:10-18).
Lest we forget!
About this Contributor:
Lisa Elliott is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of The Ben Ripple and Dancing in the Rain. Additionally, she has written articles for Just Between Us Magazine and devotionals for theStory. She and her pastor-husband, David, have four children (3 on earth, 1 in heaven) and serve the Lord together in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
To book Lisa for a weekend retreat or day conference contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org