I hope you had a peaceful holiday season. Mine was spent mourning my beloved cat Rosalie, but the holiday break allowed me time to honor her memory in various ways. Her urn arrived this week, and Katie Patton of Blocks from the Heart has done such a magnificent job in capturing Rosalie’s spirit.
And to usher in the new year, I took the plunge and adopted a pair of tuxedo cats named Dorian and Serena. They are young, just a year and a half. I do feel like Rosalie’s untimely passing was a signal from the universe that an opportunity was presenting itself to welcome a new energy into my home and my life. It was a rude awakening, but one that I hope will inspire new endeavors into my caregiving advocacy work. Adopting young cats is also a good lesson in letting go of routines and looking at things from a new perspective … like when a kitty climbs to the top of the kitchen cabinets!
As for vision … I attend a monthly women’s healing circle that involves a variety of spiritual disciplines and meditations. It’s been a virtual respite during the isolation of the pandemic. Each year, the teacher draws a spirit word for each participant, and mine for 2022 is vision. I’m interested in exploring that concept.
To kick off the year, I’m taking a course in children’s book writing. I have an idea for a children’s book that would feature my rescue dog Murphy’s story and connect it to children who have also experienced trauma. I don’t know what will come of it, but I think it is good to flex the writing muscles in a new direction.
On the legislative front, I hope some of the caregiving initiatives can be salvaged from the BBB plan. I know I sound like a broken record, but caregiving issues deserves bipartisan support because it’s something that touches all of our lives, regardless of political beliefs. Caregivers, from frontline hospital and nursing home workers to family members tending to loved ones at home, have sacrificed so much and it’s well past time that we as a society support better funding so that they get the support they need.
One of the toughest moments during the frenetic cleanup of my parents’ condo just after my mother’s death was what to do with her eyeglass collection.
My mother’s many eyeglasses were laid out neatly atop the dresser, where she always kept them. Each pair of glasses had its purpose.
A routine trip to the grocery store required three pairs: sunglasses, a pair for walking and a pair for reading coupons and expiration dates. Whenever I was with her, I was expected to know which pair she needed at any given time. I became her eyeglass whisperer, though to be honest, I never did figure out what all of the pairs were for.
She did try bifocals at one point, but hated them. “I feel like a chicken trying to pick up corn,” Mom complained.
So as I moved around the condo in a whirlwind, using the activity to temporarily blunt the grief, my mom’s eyeglass collection brought me to a halt. She had not worn any of the glasses for weeks, since she had become bedridden. While I was purging the condo of many items, I wasn’t ready to part with her glasses. Instead, I put them each in a case and then into a box, which I mailed back home to Atlanta.
I had some hazy notion of turning them into a sort of tribute piece. The glasses sat in the box in a closet for almost three years, when I finally decided it was time to do something with them. I found an appropriate shadowbox and created a simple display of the glasses my mother used most.
The display is now on my bedroom wall, and I’m pleased with the results.
Have you come up with any unusual memorials for loved ones? I would love to hear about them.
I couldn’t resist sharing this post from Bonnie, who makes the beautiful Memory Bears. This bear could have been made for my Dad, he was the ultimate Notre Dame fan!
As the holidays approach, those who are dealing with the loss of a loved one may be seeking a symbol of comfort and remembrance. A Memory Bear would make a lovely gift.
If you have recommendations on other thoughtful gift ideas for those who are grieving, I would love to hear about them.
As a child, remember holding that favorite teddy bear close to you. What a comforting affect teddy had on us. Memory Bears are very similar. A memory bear is made from your loved ones favorite clothing. Standing 22″ tall, a memory bear is soft and cuddly and just right to hold and hug as you […]
I began searching for the perfect urn for my mother’s ashes even before she took her last breath. That may seem morbid, but putting energy into creating a memorial that would honor her life gave me something positive to embrace during those final dark days.
I scoured the Internet yet nothing was jumping out at me as ideal for Mom. I thought about getting the same urn that I had gotten for my father. It rotates and allows you to add multiple photos. I have received great comfort from the urn, which I filled with photos from Dad’s young bachelor days to the end of his life.
Still, I wanted Mom’s final resting place to be unique. That’s when I stumbled upon Blocks from the Heart. (The following is not a solicited review, just my experience.)
Katie Patton is the artist that operates Blocks from the Heart. She offers memorials in a variety of formats, from blocks to memory poles and ornaments. She makes memorials for both humans and pets. She is great to work with, very responsive and determined to create a work of art worthy of your loved one.
I chose a keepsake box. I loved the idea of having 5 sides (including the top) to create a tribute to my mother’s life. It also was a challenge; how do you sum up your mother’s life in 5 ways?
On the top of box, Katie merged a glamour shot of my mother as a young woman with a poem that my mother had chosen before her death as a way to remember her. Then I paid homage to her being an animal lover with a childhood photo holding the beloved family dog, her Navy career, her glamorous side and finally, being a loving mother.
More images of my mom’s keepsake box can be seen on Facebook.
The results were amazing. I love the box and my only regret is that I didn’t create it while Mom was alive. I think she would have been thrilled and touched!