I went to visit my mom and stepdad’s final resting place on Christmas Day, and it was emotional for me. I mean in a matter of four years I lost everyone in my immediate family. I went through the daunting task of going thru my loved ones things and came across a trunk full of accomplishments that my mom and stepdad had over their lifetime. There were diplomas, certificates, letters of recognition old photos, etc Just a cornucopia. of things that just showed what amazing individuals they were.
I thought to myself WOW. Now I knew my mom was amazing of course, but I had said after all that life’s work, a disease like dementia can come in and take you away so ruthlessly. My stepdad had a purple heart in the military. One of the last things he said to me that if he passes away know that he had a great life. I’m sure that I don’t know half of the accomplishments he had over his lifetime. Look it happens to most of us. We work so hard to accomplish so much, so we can get good jobs, make our family proud, take care of everyone else, or to get to that next plato in life. When your gone it’s memories of course, but in this world that we live in it seems like it’s just stuff of a life well lived.
Sometimes, people don’t learn the most interesting attributes and experiences about a person until the funeral. So, the while your living celebrating those accomplishments offers a time to really learn about the “whole life” of a person. Today, people lead such splintered lives spread far apart in many cases from their birthplace and their families. It takes a death to unite people from distant locals in one place. Having a celebration today maybe the last time a loved one joins with all those he or she loved and experienced life with and vice versa.
Yes, accomplishments matter in life. They should be celebrated because in death they are important memories but for the person who passed it can no longer serve them but it serves as a part of their legacy. I remember my mom celebrating every one my birthdays until she couldn’t remember. she rejoiced at my solos at my dance recital, my accomplishments on my job, my graduation from college, and my first apartment. You may not think that it’s a big deal but now that I’m older I cherish those memories. I wasn’t their for a majority of her accomplishments but we celebrated her retirement and her marriage to my stepdad.
I will tell you the old saying “Bring me flowers while I can still smell them” same goes for taking time to pat yourself on the back. In fact, why not treat yourself to something special to acknowledge your accomplishments? Celebrate you and your loved ones past successes over the years as well, while you and your loved one is still here you both deserve it! Accomplishments. No matter how small those small wins are what makes you who you are today.
Holding a celebration for your loved one that focuses on their life, instead of their passing, can be a great way to celebrate the memories, experiences, and liveliness of your loved one. To celebrate your loved one’s life, you need nothing more than a time, a place, and friends and family that knew your loved one. Though, there are other things, such as food and music, that can make the celebration more lively. Get together with family and friends while look at old VHS / BETA tapes, yes anyone that’s old enough know what those were, bring out the old photos and share stories I usually get them from the Elders LOL the folks that knew your loved one when they were younger you will be surprised to hear some of the nicknames and stories behind the photos.
I encourage everyone especially if you have a loved one with a life threating illness, to take time outside of the caregiving responsibilities to talk to them about their life while their still able to share all of the exciting and challenging things that they went through from their perspective. Ask about their parents, grandparents etc, as it’s important to know about your family from each generation.
It’s all too common to move on to the next task at hand and keep doing more and more without stopping to recognize what you’ve achieved. Celebrating your accomplishments today can actually give you a boost of confidence and lead to even more success. So go ahead and live it up! I challenge you to you set your 2019 goals by looking back at 2018 and documenting all you’ve achieved and accomplished this past year. Remember these will be the memories that you will look back on when your older.
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