3 Ways Your Funeral Home Can Sponsor Mother’s Day Remembrance
Originally Posted on the funeralOne Blog
This upcoming Sunday is a special day for many people all across the world. It’s a chance to get together and celebrate some of the most important women out there… the women that helped shape us and make us — we’re talking, of course, about mothers.
But unfortunately, for another large group of people around the world, the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday is not the cause of celebration that you might expect. In fact, it’s just the opposite… it’s a not-so-subtle reminder for those who’ve lost their mothers too early that this is just another day, another holiday, another celebration without them.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you think about it, there really is no better day than Mother’s Day for families to celebrate the Mother figures in their life — mothers, grandmothers, step-mothers — even if (and especially if) those mothers are no longer physically with them. And who better to host this celebration than funeral homes?
If you want to be the go-to resource for grief and loss in your community, the support that you offer families shouldn’t end at funeral services. It should extend to offering resources and support in the hard days that follow, like the first Mother’s Day you spend without your mom, or the 10th, or the 20th.
One great resource that funeral homes can use to help their community celebrate and remember any special loved one, including mothers, is the book Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of help Loved Ones Alive by grief expert Allison Gilbert. In this book, Allison shares 85 proactive remembrance activities she likes to call “Forget-Me-Nots” that funeral homes can host and participate in with their families to celebrate the people they have lost.
And in honor of Mother’s Day, Allison shared three amazing activities that funeral homes can put on for their local communities to help honor and remember all of the amazing mother figures in their lives. Enjoy!
“One of my favorite ideas that takes into consideration this wonderful sense of power that comes from being together is what I call the Memory Bash,” Allison said during our sit-down interview at ICCFA 2017.
The concept of a Memory Bash is simple, but immensely powerful for families. Basically, this one of a kind celebration is event is similar to any other kind of party, in that you get together with a group of people and take part in celebratory activities like eating, drinking and swapping stories. But what makes Memory Bashes different from other parties is that the focus is solely on celebrating the loved ones in your life who have passed away with others who have been drawn to do the same. This is done through special memory bash toasts, Forget-Me-Nots, show and tell sessions, or any number of other activities that help bring memory and life celebration to light.
Funeral homes serve as the perfect host for these memory bashes, whether you want to throw a general memory bash for anyone who has experienced a loss in your community, or a themed memory bash to celebrate an upcoming holiday, such as Mother’s Day.
“Have a special Mother’s Day Memory Bash. Invite people to come to your funeral home and have great conversation, listen to great music. It could be celebratory,” Allison said. “Invite people to a real Mother’s Day celebration with purposeful discussion and celebration of their mom’s memory.
They can look at photographs and play her favorite music at the same time. Those things are really evocative.”
If you want to learn more about how you can host a Memory Bash at your funeral home, or to see if Allison is hosting a Memory Bash in your town, check out AllisonGilbert.com.
“Right now is a great time for spring cleaning. A lot of us go through our photographs… maybe you’re reorganizing them, you’re scanning them, you’re digitizing them,” Allison said. “But one great thing to encourage families to do is to take their photos out of the computer or take them out of the photo albums and give them more prominence in their home.”
One great way to do this is through an activity that Allison calls the “Memory Magnet.” It sounds a lot more complicated than it is. All you have to do is invite people to bring in their favorite photograph (or a copy of a photograph) of their mom and cut it to the size of the magnet that they want to create. “I like them small so they go on your refrigerator or go on your washer and dryer, Allison said. “Something that is in the family traffic pattern of your home.”
Once you have cut your photo to the size that you want, attach the backside to a magnetic backing and affix an epoxy stickers (sticky-side down) to the top of your picture, which will give it a glasslike finish. That’s it!
“The reason why something so simple becomes so important is because that photograph becomes a conversation starter. Instead of the photograph only existing on a person’s phone, on their desktop or in a photo album, they’re putting it front and center in their home,” Allison said. “It gives families a reason to bring someone up conversation and that is so critical. Just talking about their mom is a really important thing to do. Vocalizing her name, telling her story… that can all come from just having something unusual or new on their refrigerator. Taking something out of context gives it new life.”
For full instructions from Allison on how to create Memory Magnets at your funeral home, click here.
The Fabricated Picture
Technology these days has made many things we once thought impossible possible… including being able to visit sites and share moments with people who are no longer with us. If your funeral home has a staff member who is talented at photo editing, or you know someone in your community that you could invite in to help one afternoon, give your families the opportunity to create new memories with old loved ones through Fabricated Photos.
“Using Photoshop, help children see for themselves the physical traits they’ve inherited from family members,” Allison wrote on her website. “Start with a good facial-depicting photo from contrasting generations, one younger and one elder. Then edit the images together so it appears they were taken at the same time. With the resulting product, the newest generation will observe something extraordinary — they actually do have ‘Grandma’s smile’ and ‘Uncle Willie’s’ eyes!
Above is a photo that Allison did for her own family, of herself, her mother and her daughter. “It’s like a three-generation photo that never got to happen,” Allison told us. The photo of myself and my mother was actually the day I got engaged to my husband, and that was a really special photograph to me. My daughter never met my mom but I wanted to show her, not just tell her, the facial attributes and the characteristics that she really does share with her grandma. The eye shape, the mouth… any of the things that she could pick out herself and make that relationship more real. That’s what I wanted to accomplish with that photograph.”
Before you know it, the simple act of marrying two different photos becomes a very concrete way for multiple generations or multiple individuals to have a relationship with one another. “It’s a wonderful extent of unique technology that really drives home that personal connection,” Allison said.
Want to learn more forget-me-not activities that you can host at your funeral home for Mother’s Day or any other special remembrance activity? Be sure to check out Allison Gilbert’s latest book, Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of help Loved Ones Alive, which you can order on Amazon or her website.
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