Grief is not about forgetting who has died, but about finding ways to remember them and taking their memory forward, it can though, be difficult for children to hold onto their memories and that's where the memory boxes that The Daniel Estick Trust so kindly donate to us are invaluable.
Creating a memory box can be a sad thing to do but it can also be a happy time giving a child the chance to reflect and remember; helping them to form their own special thoughts.
Memory Boxes help children hold onto memories of a relative or friend who is ill or who may have died; they are also a way of helping families to talk at such a difficult time and give children a sense of control as to which memories they want to share and with whom.
Children decorate the boxes in whatever way they wish, by attaching a photograph or by brightly colouring the box. The box then becomes a "treasure trove" of special memories and enables them to share their thoughts with other people they trust and feel safe with. A Memory Box can open conversations, allowing the child to talk about things that have not been said previously for fear of upsetting mum or dad or someone close.
They can choose to put all sorts of items into a memory box such as jewellery, photos, cards, cinema tickets, small items of clothing, perfume, sea shells, drawings or letters and it can be added to as and when they wish. Making the decision as to what to put in can be overwhelming and that's where our volunteers from the Family Support Service can help them to decide. Depending on the age of the child they may want to look through their memory box alone and remember, or they may want to have a parent or relative with them to share the memories. Some of the memories may make the child laugh or cry this is all part of the process of remembering who they have lost.
I would like to say a huge thank you to The Daniel Estick Trust for supporting us in the work that we do with children pre and post bereavement, the benefits to families is beyond words.
'S', Social Care Manager, Willen Hospice