When my husband died, my daughters and I went to stay with family. Within a few months, I put our house up for sale and purchased another home. As we made plans to move from my brother’s home into our new house, I realized it would be important for us to go back to the house and say goodbye. My husband had been renovating the house for four years, so his influence was everywhere.
My husband died at home and it was traumatic for all of us. The girls were naturally apprehensive about going back into the house. Once again, I did not know what to do, so I came up with an activity called “Pocket Angels.” My hope was the exercise would reduce their anxiety and to help them recall memories that were fun, loving, and meaningful.
Here is how it worked: Once we arrived at the house, we went from room to room together and holding hands. We paused in each room and I instructed the girls to close their eyes and recall their favorite memory of us as a family or them with their dad. I encouraged them to add sound, smell, and touch to whatever memory they were recalling. Once they had all the details they wanted, then they mentally folded up the memory and tucked it into an imaginary pocket to stay forever. On any given day, or whenever they missed their dad, they could close their eyes, and imagine pulling out their “Pocket Angel” and remember him. Although this was emotional to do, it was also healing.
On page 186 of my book, I have included a lovely drawing for you to photocopy and have your child draw a picture or record a memory on. Make as many copies as you like. Store them in a binder, a special memory box, or folder. They will treasure them over the years. To order a copy go to the top of the page at www.janellebb.com.