Sharing The Memories of Loved Ones Who Have Died With Kids


As I write this it is my 36th birthday.  Like every birthday I can remember, I first think of my grandparents. You see, their wedding anniversary was the same day as my birthday.  I loved calling them and wishing them a happy anniversary and asking them if I was still the best gift they ever recieved. Hearing them chuckle and having a chat with them just made my birthday more special.

They are gone now and although the pain is not as raw as it was before, it is still there.

The thing that hurts the most, now, is that my kids never met them, knew them, or loved them. Luckily, my grandparents taught me something invaluable — to remember our loved ones after they have passed.  They always shared stories, photos, and recipes.  They took us to cemeteries around the state to clean up graves and bring flowers and flags to the veterans.

So, now I pass on what my grandparents taught me to my own kids.

When my children were babies I thought about my grandparents all the time and I would share those thoughts with my kids. As they have grown older we share more.

I tell them stories of their great-grandparents on their birthdays, at family holidays, and while sharing traditions I learned from my grandparents with my kids.  As I make my son butter toast for the millionth time I remember how my grandma made the best homemade bread and tell my son about it. When we have ice cream, I tell my kids how my grandpa would be out picking fresh blackberries for us to have on our ice cream. I share how my grandmother was a bird lover and that she passed that on to their papa, my dad, and now to us. I show them pictures of me as a baby and child so they know their smiles.

Even though they never met each other, my children will know and love my grandparents like I did the deceased relatives my grandparents shared with me.

One of my favorite photos of my grandparents- Bob & Gina

My kids experienced death for the first time when they lost their beloved great uncle Bill and his mom, Gene. We talk about Bill at harvest time as he was a local farmer. We talk about the delicious ditch asparagus Gene would save for us. We even named the cardinal pair that visited us after their deaths in their honor — and my kids love spotting Bill and Gene in our yard!

Talking about death with our children is scary, but I want to show my kids that while it is tragic, hard, and heartbreaking, it can be beautiful to remember and honor our loved ones in death.

Moving forward we’ll continue to share the stories of all those who have passed — and you should too! Think about what they loved and do that with your children.

My grandparents loved to volunteer, bake, golf, play cards, and fish — so we will share their favorite pastimes with our kids.  Sharing the memory of loved ones doesn’t have to be big, just words here and there, and stories to share while they grow . . . to show them that they are loved from above.

Grab a cake to celebrate a loved one who has passed on their birthday, sings songs, or draw photos. Ask your kids how they want to celebrate a deceased loved one on their special day.

I was recently watching PBS’s Let’s go Luna with my kids and the characters were celebrating Día de los Muertos, or The Day of the Dead. I will absolutely start adding this to our traditions to honor our relatives who have passed away.

Check out these ideas to celebrate The Day of the Dead:

How do you pass on the memory of loved ones you have lost with your kids?

Megan, an Iowa native from West Branch, shares her home with husband Cody, their three kids (Charlie-8 Gwen-6 & Ben-2) and 2 dogs (Dottie- lab-basset mix & Ham-all basset). When she is not smooching on them she is trying to change lives as a social worker, taking walks around their Iowa City neighborhood or cruising in Rita her minivan looking to score deals at local thrift stores. Check our her finds on her Instagram page @megthethriftingqueen.



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