So last week, on the anniversary of my mum’s death, I spent the evening with one of my sisters and her family, enjoying a yummy bowl of puff-puff (A Nigerian snack similar to doughnut).
We looked through some old photographs and shared memories of both our mum and dad. It was a lovely time, just chilling and reminiscing.
We don’t do this every year, but every now and then, it’s nice to do something different to celebrate the memories of your loved ones.
Here are some suggestions of what you could do on this special day:
- Have a Party – Most people love a good party. You don’t need to do anything elaborate, simply invite your close friends and family members. When my dad passed on, my mum would celebrate his anniversary each year by having a time of prayer at home and cooking a special Nigerian delicacy, known as ‘akara’ (a dish made from peeled beans and fried in vegetable oil or palm oil). As well as treating our visitors to this meal, I had the pleasure of distributing to our neighbours. Most families would say a word of prayer for me as I went knocking on their doors to deliver this meal.
- Photo Album/Book – This can either be an online album or a printed book to help share memories. The pictures are also helpful for starting a conversation about your loved one. When I think of my own family and that my children never got to meet their maternal grandparents, having an album would certainly help to talk about my parents in the future. Due to personal circumstances, I have limited pictures but I make the most of these. For example, on our mantle piece we have a picture of my mother-in-law and my mum, which will hopefully help them to make the link when the time is right.
- Visit a memorable place – Every now and then, you could spend time in a place that brings back warm memories of your loved one. You may even choose to take some flowers to their graveside if this is possible. My parents are buried in a different country to where I leave and nearly all my memories of them are in a different country, so this is not really an option for me, except when I visit my home country.
- Sharing Stories – This is one of my favourite things to do. I love recalling past events with my older brother, we’d call each other up or send a message saying “oh do you remember when mum did this …”. We didn’t do this as much in the early years, perhaps because our grief was very ‘raw’, however as time went on and especially as we started our families, we felt more at ease recalling these memories, and I must confess they are heartwarming – very rarely have they made me sob. The best part of sharing stories is that you can do this in the comfort of your home, over the phone, you don’t need to have a ‘pity party’ or make any travel arrangements.
How do you celebrate the memories of your loved ones? Do you have a special family ritual? There are no rules about how you do this, what is important is you do what is right for you!
Feel free to share your ideas in the comments.