As you may have gathered from our previous blog posts, we place a great importance on keeping our Niece and Nephew’s memory of their Mummy alive. In our opinion, talking about their Mummy, about her personality, about the memories we made and the things we miss, helps us all to process our grief and never let those memories fade. We have never shied away from this subject (which, surprisingly, some people think is the best option) and have always encouraged discussions of this nature. These conversations frequently occur naturally, but sometimes we allocate time within our busy week to sit down and talk about our memories.
Despite these conversations happening regularly, we were conscious that these memories may gradually grow faint and disappear. Approximately six months after their Mummy passed away, Rio Ferdinand’s documentary “Being Mum and Dad” was aired on BBC One. For those of you who haven’t seen it… just watch it. In the one part of the documentary, Rio visits other families who have lost parents and partners. One of those children told him about a memory jar she made; an idea which Rio adopted with him own family. As soon as we saw this, we knew this was something we needed to do too. So thank you, Rio.
Every so often, we sit down at our dining room table to write memories we have and place them into our ‘Mummy Memories’ jar. These can include anything from Mummy’s favourite film to how unbelievably amazing her cuddles were. Sometimes these memories come easily, sometimes our Niece and Nephew have to think a little harder to remember something. We also like to write down reasons why we love Mummy. This whole process helps us to have positive, happy discussions about her. Occasionally, these conversations turn to sadness. They make us remember just how much we miss her and how much we wish she was sat at the dining table with us. If this does happen, it is also important for us to acknowledge those emotions and talk to each other about how we are feeling. It is key for our Niece and Nephew to understand that we all have those emotions and it is all part of our grief.
We also try to write down memories that have come up in the moment, during natural conversation. Once when we were driving along in the car, ‘Rihanna - Diamonds’ came on the radio and our Niece said “this was Mummy’s favourite song and now it’s mine too”. Moments like that go straight into the jar. We have also asked friends and family to write memories down. Most of these are funny memories which really emphasise the nature of their Mummy’s personality. Again, this is something that is predominant in helping our Niece and Nephew to truly reminisce.
We all know that as we grow older, we forget more and more. How many of us can remember something from when we were four? Not many. This is how old our Nephew was when he lost his Mummy. We hope that in ten years time, he will be able to read through everything in the Mummy Memories jar and think about all of those different things that may have turned fuzzy over the years. We hope they will both look at the writing of their younger selves and think about all of the happy memories we made with their Mummy, regardless of how little time they got to spend with her.