Amy Rees Anderson

What Memories Will We Have Left Behind?

This weekend I attended the funeral of a neighbor and a friend. She left behind a husband, children, and grand-children and many friends who loved her dearly. She was an amazing person and she lived her life with love and service for others and I feel lucky to have known her. It was really hard to see her move on from this life but there is comfort in believing that we will see her again someday when she is reunited with her family in the next life.

As each of her children stood up to speak about their mother at her funeral, each child shared different memories they had of their mother. It was really interesting to hear about the different random moments that stood out to each child as they shared the stories about their time with their mother. They each told funny stories about their mom, and characteristics they had each seen in her, and special moments when she touched their lives. The stories each child told were very different and each from their own perspective of the impact their mother had made on their life.

As I sat their listening I couldn’t help but wonder if I was to pass away what memories would my own children have stand out in their minds? What characteristics would I have exemplified to them that shaped their lives? What happy moments have stuck in their minds that would make them laugh to recall?

I then went on to ask myself what memories I would think to share if it was my husband or one of my children’s funerals. I wasn’t thinking about it in a morbid way, but rather I was thinking about what special memories stand out to me about each of them from our time we have spent together thus far in our lives. I started going through those special moments that were etched in my memory of each of them – memories of dancing around our kitchen together, and memories of different family trips we had taken, or cuddle puddle sessions where we all cuddle up together to watch a favorite movie or TV show, or serious moments of deep talks about serious subjects together. As I ran through these memories on each of them I decided that I wanted to set a goal to come home and start keeping a notebook for each of them, one for my husband, one for my son, and one for my daughter, where I can write down those special moments and what they meant to me and how and why they stood out to me in my time with each of them. I want to write them down and then give them to each of them to read while we are all still alive. And I want to keep writing new ones down as they happen so I can make sure I am always making time with my family to create memories together.

I never would have thought to do that if I hadn’t attended that funeral this weekend. I think that experience really caused me to reflect on how much we take for granted about the time spend and experiences we make with our families. The fact is that we never know how much time we will have with our families before someone passes away, and if and when that happens we won’t want to have wasted a single precious moment we could have had with them. No job, or money, or material thing, or television show, or video game, or social media outlet, or yardwork, or whatever time fillers come into our day will ever have been worth sacrificing one moment of quality time we could spend creating memories and having memorable moments with our families.  Nothing.

I hope all of you have an amazing week this week and make tons of memories with your families!

~Amy

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