Keeping Precious Memories Alive
One of the most worrisome fears that a grieving person can experience is wondering how to keep a memory alive after a wonderful loved one has died. Death has a way of bringing images, even sounds and smells, to the forefront of one’s memory when thinking about a loved one who has died. Fortunately, for many, the initial shock and grief lessens in time. Unfortunately as well, as the days after a loved one dies continue to pass, it can seem to become a little more difficult to keep those cherished memories alive.
This is especially true when people suffer a loss from an unexpected death. A loved one’s continued presence is a gift that has been freely given, and thankfully welcomed. However, now the loss of their presence can make it difficult to keep memories alive, even those that have lived long lives. Many people worry that time will create a disconnection from a cherished loved one; however, the strong impact and influences a very special departed loved one had upon people close to them in life does continue once they have died. There are “signs” seen or received, that constantly remind us of the bonded love shared between people, and this bond continues beyond this mortal life we have had the pleasure to experience together.
The fact remains that familiar sounds, sights, smells, and other impacts upon the human senses are tied to memory. How many times have you smelled something sumptuous cooking somewhere that stirs up a memory of a departed loved one, such as a parent, a grandparent, or another special someone, who cooked that same wonderful “something ?” Present (and future) smells do bring remembrances.
How about that specific sound shared by you and a loved one? It could be something as poignant as a church bell ringing, or as silly as a sound you both made and shared for years. A sneeze, a cough to clear their throat right before they speak, their laugh, a grunt, or someone humming a tune just like your loved ones did in the past may now create a wide array of emotions that comes crashing down upon your heart.
Does the sight of a sunset, a sunrise, or a beautiful pastoral setting stir up memories of places shared with a now departed loved one? Often places experienced together, trips shared, or just simple activities like walking on a beach at sunset (or sunrise) will actually be shared forever.
You cannot escape the special smells, sights, or sounds of your departed loved ones no matter how long ago they died. These signs will remain constant reminders of just how special a relationship you had with this loved one. Relationships are forever, and this love shared is so strong it remains forever. Sights, sounds, and smells from departed loved ones continue to echo their presence as cherished memories that provide us with the belief that these loved ones remain with us always.
John T. Catrett, III
Scissortail Hospice Chaplain
306 North Main Street, Suite E
Bristow, OK 74010