The holidays - A perfect time for reminiscing
By Kathy Melamed
Clinical Communication Director
So, here come the winter holidays! The weather in Arizona is perfect. The tasks are multitudinous. The preparation is fun and festive and busy, sometimes demanding and even in the best of times, occasionally overwhelming. For those caring for a seriously ill loved one, the holiday season is likely a complicated time of mixed emotions and competing obligations.
As a child, the best part of the holidays is the anticipation, the tradition, and for some, the gifts—“I can’t wait…how many more days?...” Later, reminiscence is more and more a focus. “Remember that time we … I loved it when … my favorite time was … ”
In this season, preserving memories might be a meaningful way to celebrate. A recorded interview with your loved one recalling early events in his/her lifetime … a videotaped session reviewing a photo album (or a box of pictures you never got around to organizing) … a written description of objects in your home—where they came from, when you got them, what they mean to you … shared stories of favorite holidays. Family members and friends may help.
Reminiscing can be informative, affirming, and therapeutic for the listener and the talker. The preserving of memories can be as simple or complex as you choose. I recommend a book I just re-read: Keeping Family Stories Alive—Discovering & Recording the Stories &Reflections of a Lifetime by Vera Rosenbluth. There are many other print and internet resources available.
Oh, the memories … they are lovely or sad or bittersweet. They are the vehicle for continuity from season to season, year to year. When all is said and done, that continuity creates hope—ultimately the reason for this season.
He is the happiest man who can trace an unbroken connection between the end of his life and the beginning. –Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Through the hustle and bustle of this month, I wish you moments of joy and the opportunity to remember together with those you love.