Organizing Memories

Organizing Memories

By Meredith Johnson

Over the years of my life, I have had the wonderful experience of having three sons who are now adults. I also was fortunate to have my parents into their 80’s and 90’s! Unfortunately, two of my three brothers have passed away. I also have some items from my mother’s parents (my grandparents) that she held onto over the years. I hauled all the items from these relatives all over the United States as I liked to move and have new adventures. I always thought that when I retired, I would organize all of their items but certainly never had the time when I was working. I believe getting older and having time to reflect on the meaning of someone’s life also played a part in moving forward with the organization. I was highly motivated by the fact that I didn’t want memories of my two brothers and their lives to disappear after only one generation.

I thought for quite some time about how I was going to organize all the items I had. I began with tall stacks of plastic containers and boxes in our guest bedroom. I was fortunate to have a king-size bed that didn’t need to be used so I could sort through the items without having to pick them all up at the end of each day. I spent over a week working on this task. One thing I didn’t know how challenging it would be on my heartstrings. There were days when I sat on the bed and cried as I touched each item. I would take breaks and begin again knowing I wanted to preserve all the memories rather than give up letting the emotions get the better of me.

Here are the items to begin with. Since we are all staying in our homes, it would be easy to purchase them online.

I thought it might help to view the finished product. For family members, like my adult sons, items will continue to be added as the years go by. I have so many questions about relatives who have come before me that I never knew. For instance, I have a grandfather who I never met and besides a few photographs and his wooden toolbox, I don’t have many items to remember him by. I hope through my efforts many generations who will come after me will have a greater understanding of those who have come before.

During this unexpected time perhaps, you’ll want to begin on this project for your family. Go slowly, take small steps and keep the end in mind when loving memories of those who have come before us become overwhelming.

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Meredith Johnson
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