Writing about memories isn’t the only way to share them. Verbally passing on memories and anecdotes can also be a great kindness to others. You can give someone an alternative glimpse of someone they love through the gift of shared memories.
In fact, a couple of examples come to mind.
Gift of Shared Memories About My Dad
Before my parents’ funeral, a woman introduced herself to me at the visitation. She was the vendor at a flea market my dad frequented. She’d driven forty minutes to share an important memory with me: “Your dad recently bought some old quarters from me. He wanted to save them for his grandkids.” She went on to tell me that my dad wasn’t a silent browser at the flea market. He knew each vendor by name. What’s more, due to his excitement over being a granddad, the vendors all knew my sons names.
What a gift! Without her sharing this memory, I wouldn’t have fully grasped the extent to which my dad was a grandpa even when he was living eleven hours away from his grandsons. This was a literal gift too: when I came across a small paper bag of old quarters in my dad’s desk, I knew what they were. For my kids those quarters are evidence of a grandparent that wanted to watch them grow up.
Although my mom told me stories about her childhood, hearing stories from her siblings brought them alive for me. Through them, I learned about family dynamics. One of those dynamics was the importance of honesty.
My aunt told me about the day she and mom’s oldest brother skipped school. They timed their return home to look like they were walking home from the bus. What really surprised me was their joint reaction when their father saw them and asked how school was that day. They didn’t even try to float a story. They both hung their heads and fessed up.
Memories of My Ancestors
Regular readers have heard about grandma’s stories and her inspiriting gift of shared memories, possibly ad nauseam. If you’re in doubt about including memories and family stories in your ancestry files, read Personal Stories belong in Family Trees.
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late to Share Memories and Family Stories
They say the best thing to bring to a funeral is a memory. But do we really want to wait until a loved one is gone to celebrate our shared stories?
Go share a story! You can also share with me: When did you receive a gift of shared memories? I love to hear your comments.