Jars and remembering
Both at the Dovetail bereavement group for children, and also when I see children and young people on a one-to-one basis, we do lots of different remembering activities relating to their special person, as memories are a way of keeping the connection between the individual and the person that is deceased alive and really important.
Decorating jars is very popular as a way of making sense of loss and remembering in a positive way. Christmas, birthdays and other events can be particularly hard and it’s important for us to take time and think about that person in our lives, and some of the happy memories we have which can be comforting, during which time some people may listen to music and many light a candle or tea light too. We use jam jars and decorate them with stickers, write on little messages, words that remind them of their person or just the person’s name – it’s their jar and no rules. We use waterproof and metallic pens so they can go outside if wanted, but that is not necessary. Some families light their candle or tea light together and use it as a time to have a few minutes thinking of their special person, and some do just on their own – it’s all very personal and certainly not just for children.
Also at this time of year memory jars are a also nice thing to do where everyone in the family can join in, and they provide a starting platform for talking and remembering. Everyone can write a memory – however small is fine, on a small piece of paper and put in the jar – and then choose when you want to open the jar and read some of the memories, or the person that has written them can share their memory. This often reminds us of funny incidents, holidays, sayings, favourite food or tv programmes – again there are no rules.