Have you ever had a special remembrance celebration for a deceased loved one on their birthday? Several of my friends have done that, and I simply must share.
It all started one summer day when I called my daughter-in-law to see if I could arrange a playdate with my two granddaughters. When I talked to Lisa about putting it on the schedule, she said they were so excited to be going to a tea party at their Aunt Bonnie's that day. She explained that her Aunt Bonnie and her mother decided to have a tea for their dear mother who had passed a few years earlier. Bonnie and Linda had a keen desire for their own granddaughters to know their mother. And what better way to do that than with a tea party on their mother's birthday! I was so taken with that idea.
Here's what was included in their planning:
The two women had their mother's collection of teacups. Of course they would use those. Their mother had also started collecting beautiful china plates from antique shops and flea markets. Every time she came to see her daughters in her later years, she would bring them antique plates she had bought for them. So they had those plates for the celebration as well.
The two women then collected various photos they had of their mother and framed them to put around the dining area where the tea party would be held. They chose photos from various stages of their mother's life. Unfortunately I have only a couple of those treasured photos to share, but you get the idea. They wanted to capture for Grandmother Betty's great-granddaughters the vibrant life and personality of their mother.
The setting-up before their honored guests arrived.
The guest list included their daughters, daughters-in-law, and granddaughters. They set up enough tables for all their guests and got out their teapots, teacups, and other serving pieces. They were also sure to add the foodstuffs necessary for a proper tea--lemon curd, coddled cream, lemons, cream, honey, sugar, finger sandwiches and scones. They did it up right!
Let the celebration begin! They were sure to show their granddaughters each and every picture and describe them. As they dined on tea and crumpets, they told stories about their great-grandmother, and offered traits their mother had that they had seen in their own daughters and granddaughters. I am sure on that day, the young girls' great-grandmother came alive to them. And they plan to continue the tradition. Besides sharing their mother's stories and life history, Linda and Bonnie see it as a way for at least once a year, getting all the cousins together. That's often hard to achieve in our busy world.
But wait, there's more!
Other friends have reported doing something like this to honor their loved ones on their heavenly birthdays. One friend told me about her granddaughter having everyone over on her great-grandfather's birthday. It was a casual summer celebration in remembrance of their beloved Bopie. The granddaughter served his favorite summer treat, Coke floats.
Another friend lost a beloved nephew just last year. His mother (her sister) had everyone over on his birthday for big bowls of chocolate ice cream--his favorite! And this grandmother presented them all with tee-shirts with his favorite saying, "And I think to myself, what a wonderful world."
Live and learn and pass it on!
I hate to tell you, but I had never heard of having a special remembrance celebration on a deceased loved one's birthday, and I think it is such a wonderful idea. And I wanted to pass it on to readers of my blog. If you've done something like this, please write me. I promise to share here. As grandparents, we've come to that time in our life when we want our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to know their departed family members. We want them to know our history and our stories. As I've repeated many times, we are the link between the two generations that came before us and the two generations that come after us. Besides telling those stories, we should celebrate their lives just as these people have done. What a treasure! What a remembrance!
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Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!