These stories made me think of my grandma. She was constantly in the kitchen and she always wore an apron. I wear an apron too and every time my hands reach behind my back to tie the bow, I think of my grandma. And I’ve continued her legacy by giving every family member an apron.
These tangible reminders are what keep our loved ones close and a continued part of our lives.
I was reminded of this when we recently celebrated my daughter’s birthday at a restaurant. All grown up, I was surprised she wanted us to sing the family birthday song. The song dates back to my mom’s camping days. She made it a part of our family’s celebrations and I’ve passed it on to mine. My husband, daughter, and I tried to sing quietly, clinking our glasses on cue. I thought how special it was that my mother’s legacy is still very much a part of our lives and I have every confidence that my daughter will pass it on to another generation.
Here are some ways to keep your memories alive, not just for you but for generations to come:
1. Display photographs where you can see them often. And use them as a springboard for telling stories to family members and friends.
2. Prepare and integrate family recipes into your daily life and holidays and let everyone know their origin.
3. Offer copies of your loved one’s recipes. When I share a recipe from my mom, I always put her name in the recipe title and it gives me added pleasure. And I have recipes in my personal cookbook that bear the name of my friends’ loved ones.
4. Use a family heirloom, such as a serving piece, at holiday gatherings, reminding your family of its history and all the occasions it’s served.
5. Pass on family heirlooms to family members who will use and treasure both the item and the memory.
6. Tell stories and tell them often. Your personal stories will become part of your family’s history.
7. Copy documents, such as passports, naturalization papers, letters, marriage, and death certificates. Distribute them to other family members to preserve and cherish your loved ones.
8. Document personal history and memories, creating and preserving your family's story, to be passed down to generations to come.
Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, now at a reduced price for e-books for "Illness & Death," "Suicide," "Miscarriage," "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle Store.