It's my birthday this week! I still love my birthday. The day brings back wonderful memories of my mom and dad who always made the day special. In the years since they've passed away, I've continued making the day extraordinary -- not just for me, but in celebration of their memory. I do this by taking extra care of myself, carving out time to see friends and indulging in foods that make me happy (slice of chocolate cake, anyone?).
It's in this mindset -- celebration over sadness -- that I wrote my forthcoming book, Passed and Present. It's full of fun, innovative ideas for keeping the memory of loved ones alive. I call these ideas Forget Me Nots. One of my favorite Forget Me Nots is hosting a Memory Bash. Similar to a birthday party or book club, a Memory Bash is an excuse to get together as a group -- eating, drinking, and having a great time -- but in this case, the focus is celebrating loved ones who have passed away in the company of others drawn to do the same. It's a joyful concept I simply love!
There's not a single way to do a Memory Bash. You can host in your home, but a local community center, coffee shop, church, or synagogue will also work well and be terrific for larger groups. Ask guests to bring one or two cherished photos (or photocopies of photos) of their loved one. In between cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, or coffee and cake, guests can chat, hang out, and create simple keepsakes that encourage conversation and sharing memories.
Below is one of my favorite projects you can do at your Memory Bash. You'll find more ideas in Passed and Present.
Create a Memory Magnet - This is a great activity that ensures cherished pictures are taken out of under appreciated photo albums and given prominence, perhaps on a refrigerator. You'll need epoxy bubble stickers, magnets with adhesive backing, and scissors. First, affix the epoxy stickers (sticky-side down) to the top of your picture, giving it a glass-like finish. Next, cut a piece of magnetic strip to the size and shape of your sticker and place it on the back. Done! In less than five minutes, guests have created a Memory Magnet they can appreciate every day.
I absolutely love Memory Bash events! I enjoy them so much that I'm taking the Memory Bash concept on the road for my upcoming book tour. Please find the preliminary schedule on my website. If the Memory Bash tour is coming to your city, I hope you'll mark the date and celebrate your loved one with me.