Saturday, May 12, 2012

Writing the Memories

During my first year of widowhood, memories of my husband flooded in from happier days. They were crystal clear...like our family vacations. We frequently flew to Puerto Rico to visit his parents. They would occasionally babysit and we'd run off to the beach for some time alone. I'd lie on the beach and listen to the Salsa music playing from the close-by, beachfront establishments. Nelson would play a few games of pool and then bring me back some yummy food.

Then there were the memories that came before the holidays. I'd remember Nelson just loved Thanksgiving! The more family and friends around him, the merrier he was. I reflected on one particular Thanksgiving with our friends, Lisa and Sal. We laughed so much that day that probably our sides hurt. Maybe you won't think it was as funny. But there are those times that you just had to be there.

Nelson and I arrived for Thanksgiving dinner just as Lisa ran out of milk for mashed potatoes. An hour later, when Lisa poured more milk in the cold potatoes to mash them, all she managed to get were lumps. Giggles in the kitchen became contagious. When the turkey was done, Sal lifted up the gizzard bag that he forgot to remove. Once we composed ourselves from laughing, we sat down to eat. For Lisa's next birthday, I included a box of instant mashed potatoes!

I could tell more stories. It's been 17 years since my late husband passed. I can remember the details because I wrote them down. In the first year of painful grief, every day I wrote the memories while I cried many tears. This helped me to progress through grief and now I have these memories forever with me. From the happy times to what I remembered when Nelson was dying in the hospital.

I believe that writing your memories is one way to become unstuck in your grief. I think sometimes we don't want to forget special moments we've had with our loved one and we keep our thoughts constantly on them, clinging to every detail. If we can get in a habit to write them down, it would be easier to move on. We would know that if the memories are written down, whether in a private journal or public blog, we could go to them whenever we felt the need.

Writing down memories takes time and courage. It's making a conscious effort to make it a priority. It takes guts, too. The tears will come and this helps you grieve. As you write the past this makes it easier to let go and move forward. These treasured memories will always be with you. And one day, as you read them, instead of crying tears, a smile will spread across your face!

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