We are living through challenging times, but the one thing that many of us do have more of right now is time.
It is all too easy to fill our extra hours scrolling on our phones or binge-watching box sets, but we could also use these long winter evenings to create, make and do things that will make a real difference to our lives.
That may be to do with remembering a loved one, or even preparing for a time when we have to say goodbye to someone important in our lives. It could be about picking up the phone to a long lost friend, or finally sorting out that box of old family photos.
If you’re stuck for ideas, think of things you would really regret NOT doing if the chance was taken away from you. Here are some ideas to get you started...
Create a book of old family recipes
Now is the time to make a written record of favourite recipes so that future generations can continue to enjoy that homemade jam, delicious Christmas cake, scrumptious sausage rolls or classic cocktail. Ask your relatives for their kitchen secrets and record them in a pretty book or journal that will become a family treasure.
Photo: Annie Spratt
Delve into the box of family photos
It’s a big job, but now is the perfect time to take it on. Go through old photos and ask friends and family to help you label them. Then decide whether to put them in albums, create digital photo books, or simply store them for the future. Make sure you frame a selection of your favourites to remind you of those you’ve loved and lost, as well as remembering the fun times with the people you still hold close.
Photo: Joanna Kosinska
When someone dies, a wealth of stories go with them too. To ensure those tales live on, it’s important to ask questions of those who are still alive. So put the kettle on and find out about an older relative’s experiences in the war or what they enjoyed when they were young. Get them to tell you their love stories and to share some secrets (if they wish to). It’s amazing what you can find out just by giving someone the chance to talk about their past. Then write down what you find out, with some pictures alongside, so that the stories are preserved for future generations to read.
Photo: Rod Long
Phone a friend
If there is an old friend who you haven’t been in touch with for a while, drop them a line or give them a call. It’s all too easy just to follow people on social media, but making an effort to write to them properly or to speak to them on the phone can really make a difference to them, and to you.
Make a memory book or box
help to prevent precious memories and stories of a loved one from slipping away by making a Memory Book about what they mean to you. You could go further and keep poignant photos, letters and other treasures in one of our beautiful new Memory Boxes, keeping your cherished items safe in one place to go back to again and again.
Plant a tree
We’ve all appreciated the healing power of nature over the past year, so perhaps adding our own little bit of green to the world is a lovely way to remember a loved one. Watching a sapling steadily grow into a tree will keep them in your thoughts, and even give you a place to sit and reflect in years to come. You could do this in your own garden or perhaps at a location that was special to the person who has died. The Woodland Trust is among the many organisations to offer tree memorials.
Photo: Jocelynne Yvonne
We would love to hear about the special ways you have remembered a loved one.... let us know in the comments below or via our social media channels.