My friend had a beautiful old watch that belonged to her dad, and she wanted to get it back in working order. She took it to a repairman, and while examining the watch, he told my friend he could tell a lot about her dad by the way the watch was worn. He mentioned her dad probably liked to fiddle with the dial and showed her the worn-down areas. He then demonstrated how her dad most likely kept his hand in his pocket based on the wear on the watch’s side. The repairman’s assessments were right on and brought back vivid memories. My friend’s father had died 18 years earlier, and these recollections of her dad’s qualities brought her so much pleasure. Her husband now wears the watch. My friend confided that every time she sees it she is reminded of the characteristics the repairman highlighted, and it never fails to make her smile as she remembers her dad.


The holiday period is an especially tough time when you’ve lost loved ones. What a gift to give a friend or family member: shared memories of a loved one recently or long gone. If a virtual stranger could evoke joy and gratitude, just imagine what you can do if you share a memory.


Years ago when I was cleaning out, I found a birthday card from my Aunt Helen who had died several years earlier. The message was just too funny to keep to myself. She wrote, “Dearest Robbie. Aunt Dot reminded me to mail your card on time and I assured her I would. Don’t tell her it’s late. Much love, Aunt Helen.” I sent an email to my cousins and shared the message. One wrote to thank me for the memory; the other wrote to say it gave her such a laugh, as it was so typical of her mom. A simple sharing had made both of their days.


So what memories do you hold? Whatever they are, share them. Give the gift of loving remembrance. You’ll bring some warmth to a holiday season for friends and family missing a loved one.

Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, now available in e-book and print for "Illness & Death," "Suicide" and "Miscarriage" and e-books: "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle Store. Click here to order.


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