How do you explain a memory to a young child? You read him “Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge” by Julie Vivas.
Young Wilfrid lives with his parents next door to a nursing home. He overhears a conversation between his parents. “Poor Miss Nancy has lost her memory.” And Wilfrid asks, “What is a memory?”
His father gives him the dictionary definition that says it is something you remember. Wilfrid then goes next door and asks that question of the residents who live there. Their answers make it easier to understand.
He is told a memory is something warm, from long ago, that makes you cry, makes you laugh and is as precious as gold. Wilfrid begins to understand a memory is not something one wants to lose. But you’ll have to read the book to see how Wilfrid helped Miss Nancy find her memory.
Memorial Day is next week — and is set aside as a time to remember. A time to remember our soldiers killed in battle. A time to remember others we love who have died.
Take a moment. Find a quiet place. Read old letters. Look at photograph albums. Look at home movies. It may bring warm feelings. You may laugh. You may cry. That is good.
Above all, be aware that each day, you too are making memories. In the evening, we often say to a friend, “Tell me about your day.” Either with someone, or by yourself, it is a good thing to do. Look for what surprised you, what inspired you, what touched you, what made you laugh. You may find a memory you want to share with someone or write down and keep.
Charlotte Lankard is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.