Creating New Memories

Jonathan would have been 22 Thursday.

Jonathan Tree Birthday 22

Kids birthday decorations.

This has been one of the hardest years for my daughter in particular. The youngest, she has fewer memories with her brother. This is a sizable loss and she is feeling it deeply. So what do you do when memories soften, or you don’t have them at all?

Make new ones.

There is so much healing power in acknowledging the memories we do have and then creating new memories with our loved ones in mind.

  • Celebrate their Life: So we went to the dollar store, purchased streamers, graduation decorations and birthday signs to celebrate Jonathan.
  • Talk About Them: I asked Natalie some questions about her brother today:
    • What do you remember about how your brother looked? His sparkling blue eyes.
    • What is a favorite memory of Jonathan? When it was his birthday and his friends had a Nerf battle and I was the princess he protected.
    • What is one thing you wish you could do with Jonathan? Ride horses together.
  • Photo Album: She and I are looking through pictures to find pictures of her with her brother so that she can look back and see who they were together, but we are also looking forward with Jonathan. How can she love him, laugh with him, celebrate his life overlapping hers? We find ways to love others more deeply, discuss him, and keep stepping forward with his life making ours better. By no stretch is remembering on this level easy, but being moved with compassion for others struggling, because we understand Jonathan’s and our own despair, can profoundly change the world for the better.
Mother's Day Hike 2018

Our favorite trail at the cemetery!

  • Help Others: If you have lost a loved one to suicide here are some ideas we are currently looking at:
    • Helping homeless youth
    • Because my children are younger we are looking at serving meals
    • Making care bags
    • Share your survivor testimony with others
      • Each survivor story is unique
      • Others need hope and encouragement
      • Read to the elderly/or children
        • Life can be so lonely for a neighbor or person in a nursing home
      • Do a suicide prevention walk as a family
  • Seek Support
    • Hospice Community CentersMy children and I have benefited greatly from the support of the counselors at hospice
      • They helped me to stay connected with my children’s grief while grieving in my own unique way
      • Gave practical and fun ways to grieve with hope together

What types of new memory activities have helped your families to grieve with hope? Please comment below with ideas, support groups, personal experiences in your area.

devotional faith family mental health Uncategorized

Loss Through the Eyes of a Child

John 3:16 For God so loved the world: He gave his one and only son, so that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life.

 

Daniel, age 10, asked if he could write for my post. So, I am honored to have my son be my first guest blogger. 

Even the smallest of us can make a difference to family or a person hurt by loss. When I lost my brother, I asked everyone I met if they knew Jonathan. I wanted them to know he lived. By talking about Jonathan, I discovered that others had lost someone they loved. I could encourage them with God’s word and by listening and praying for them. John 3:16 helps me to remember that Jonathan is with Jesus, and his story did not end here.

God comforts me. Jonathan’s death has made me more scared of losing my parents because they have been very sick. I tend to cry when others lose someone in a movie, or I faced the death of my dog last year. I talk to God and he tells me I will be okay. He helps me to remember playing Nerf with Jonathan, creating a football field every Christmas as my present. I would wake up and look out the window and there would be a freshly painted football field and we would go out and play as a family. Sometimes when I go to bed, I ask my mom to sing a special song, because that is when I especially get sad or scared. Even though Jonathan’s death is tough on me, we have new family activities that we do. We are reading through the Bible and praying for Compassion International Families, together. We take a Mother’s Day hike every year at the cemetery where Jonathan is buried. Last year we made ornaments for Christmas, and crafts to remember favorite moments with Jonathan.  There are so many ways to remember him.

Anytime you feel the urge to pray for someone, I encourage you to lift them up to God. Loving others as God loves me helps me know that the sad times will pass and that he has a good plan for our lives.

 

devotional faith suicide Uncategorized