31st August this year marks twenty years since Princess Diana died, and her sons were left without their mother. Recently, Princes William and Harry recorded a documentary: Diana, Our Mother. During this documentary, William talked about how he wonders what kind of a grandmother Diana would have been, and the ways in which he and Princess Kate help their two children be aware of who she was.
Of course, William and Harry are not the only ones who have lost their mother before they have had their own children. There are many children who have never met a grandparent, and it can be emotional and difficult for their parents to get a sense of who they were across to them.
There are several ways in which you can keep the memory of your loved one alive for your children. During the documentary with William and Harry, it was interesting to hear William talk about the ways he does that for his children. Below are some tips on how you can do this too.
Photographs. Photographs are a great way to not just show children what their grandparent looked like, but also open up conversations about them. You can share your favourite photographs, bring them out at special occasions so they are a part of what you are celebrating too.
Memories. Share your memories. It can be something really simple, like what your parent smelled like or a conversation you had with them that has always stuck with you. It could be a bigger memory like a holiday you went on together, or the first argument you had with them. Memories help your children to understand what your relationship with your parent was like. As well as give a sense of who the grandparent was too.
Do something in their memory. Create a new memory with respect to your lost parent. This could be organising a charity event in their honour, or hosting a party to mark a special birthday of your loved one.
Get creative. Make a scrap book or a memory box, gathering items that remind you of them and talk to your children about them whilst doing so. You could also bake something which your loved one used to enjoy. Expressing the sense of who they were through creativity can be very healing, and therapeutic. If it is difficult and emotional to talk about them at times, it can be easier to do so when you are involved in a craft project, then you also have the finished project to enjoy too.
Although you can’t change the fact that your parent has gone and can’t meet their grandchildren, you can find ways in which to keep the memory of them alive for your children. Sharing photographs and memories can be a conversation starter, giving your children a real sense of who they were whilst being creative and making new memories are a perfect way to feel as though your lost loved one is still a part of your lives.