memorial objects

Yesterday, I mentioned that I categorize remembering my brother Greg into stuff and memories.  Those two things are not mutually exclusive, as the stuff is intertwined with the memories, but they are two separate issues for me.  So I started with the stuff.  I didn't really discuss that initial need to go through and sort and deal with the stuff right after a death -- that is a separate thing entirely and usually waded through by a survival instinct. 

I am focusing more on the stuff you save- how to use it, store it or display it to help yourself remember and to grow and heal.  I have a couple of items made by Christine, a family friend, using items belonging to Greg. They are some of my most favorite things.  They were made for me, and I can use them for my own purposes, but they are made from his things and provide the prompts to keep Greg alive in my heart.

The first is a bracelet, made using three beads from Greg's necklace.  Christine added pretty beads and created something lovely I can wear when I have a tough day or when I need to feel close to Greg. 

The second is a bag, also made by Christine.  It's an all-purpose bag, perfect for carrying laptop and lunch back and forth to work (when I used to do such things), toting books to the library,carrying a few diapers, change of clothes and a snack.  I actually use it as a purse on and off, and am doing so right now.  It makes me happy.  The painting and the choice of fabrics are beautiful, original, and done for me.  But Greg's things are there too.  Two more beads from the necklace are attached to the front of the bag, just below the straps.  The inner denim lining of the straps, the denim on the bottom of the bag, and the denim pocket inside the bag are from a pair of Greg's jeans. 

Lastly, I want to mention one other treasured memory object we have.  This one is in memory of our nephew Noah, who died five years ago at 11 months old.  His parents, Andi & Mike, had this memory bear made for us by Joe's Memory Bears.  It is made from a blanket of Noah's, and we keep it on a shelf in Emmett's room, where we can tell him stories about his cousin and eventually share with him the meaning of the bear and the memories of Noah. 

Dedicating specific objects as memorial things helps me deal with the stuff.  I do still struggle with it, and there are a few things of Greg's, or things that remind me of Greg, that float around my house from place to place with no real home, but I'm not willing to get rid of them.  The number of things like this seems to dwindle slightly over the years, but having special things and a special place for some of his things is reassuring.

Do you have any dedicated memorial objects?  How do you use stuff to keep memories alive?


maresi said...

I didn't know you had that bracelet or the bear! They're both wonderful. And I just can't believe it's been 5 years since Noah died. GAH time is going faster.
I'm really moved by all this writing you've been doing, Amy. Love you.

Christine Phelps said...

Amy - After reading this entry I am at a loss for words - I am so honored that I was able to create the bracelet and bag for you that help you keep your brother close to your heart. Creating these treasures for you and your Mom brought me peace and I am glad that they comfort you. Greg is never far from my thoughts. I think of him often when I glance up at my bookshelf at work and see his picture. Christine

Thais said...

I have actaully been very private about the stuff of my dads i saved. For years (even in college), I slept with one of his ties in my pillowcase. I have two of his shirts downstairs packed in an old dresser. In one of my storage totes, i have a perfume bottle he gave me when i was 6 for valentines day...and then i have a stuffed dalmation that he gave me one year for valentines day taht is stuffed behind my night stand...on purpose. I have his wedding band in my safe.. For some reason , i have always been very private about the objects i kept...mostly fearing people would think i was freakin crazy....but they do bring me comfort knowing they are there, even if im the only one who knows they are there.

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