What is a memory box? A memory box is a container of your choosing that holds special things that belong to you (if you want to leave your family a way to remember you by) or things that belong to a loved one you lost.
Types Of Memory Boxes
Memory box to remember a loved one you lost
When you lose someone you love, you are heartbroken. You might feel like you’ll never recover. But you will. You’ll go through the stages fo grief, and eventually will find joy again.
A memory box might help you remember a loved one. It’s a safe container where you can contain your grief and open it up whenever you want to. Each time you view your box and explore its contents, you may feel more connected to your loved ones.
Creating a memory box to honor your lost loved one can be a very healing experience. Take plenty of time and care to make it special. This memory box is yours – so use your own creativity to decorate it any way you choose.
How to make a memory box
You’ll first need to find an empty box. It can be a craft box, shoebox, jewelry box, cigar box, or any other type of container that you wish to use. You may even buy a nice wooden box or get a blanket box at the crafts or discount store.
Decorate the box by painting or covering with fabric, ribbons, flowers, or other decorations (walk through Michaels for inspiration). You might create a collage of photos and add stickers to decorate it. You can paint the inside, or line it with soft fabric.
Once you have finished decorating your box, collect objects that remind you of your loved one. This may include:
- death certificate
- toys, or stuffed animals
- prized possessions that he or she loved
- a favored piece of clothing
- scrapbook with special memories
Visit your memory box whenever you feel the need to reconnect with your lost one.
It will be helpful to gather all your memory items in one place, to help keep your grief together, and not fragmented, or scattered about your home environment. As your grief begins to resolve, you will find yourself depending on your memory box less and less for emotional support. There is no timetable for this; just follow your heart.
Much later in your bereavement, you may want to put away your box of special items that bring happy memories to life and store it on a shelf in a closet.
It will always be there if you need to visit it. You will eventually get to where you don’t want to see it on a daily basis. Box up the memories, but don’t dispose of them. They are your legacy from your lost love, and you will treasure them for your whole life.
Find comfort by making a tribute scrapbook or grief journal.
Memory box created by you for your family
Life isn’t always fair, and many of us suffer from a terminal illness. And while we can be bitter about it, that, unfortunately, doesn’t help. What would help a lot, and make a difference in the lives of your family members is to create your own memory box they could remember you by.
This could be therapeutic for you as you think of all the special memories you made with your family. As you go through your last stages of life, this activity will provide you closure, knowing your family will feel your love long after you’re gone.
If you have children, this type of memory box is even more important, as their minds are not fully developed and they might have a harder time remembering. A book you read together, lotion or perfume you often wear, pictures of activities you did together, and even crafts they made for you, are all good candidates for this remembrance box. Add a note with each item about the occasion. This will jog the child’s memory even years after it happened.
Do you have something special for them? Maybe a piece of jewelry? Or a watch? That would be a very special memory of you that they could wear daily or on special occasions.
Other items you might add to your box could be:
- letters to each member of the family
- a recorded message, so they could hear your voice again
- video recordings of times spent together
- music you enjoyed together
- notes you saved throughout the years
- your journals – usually these are very personal things no one ever sees, but they hold our most inner thoughts about life. After you are gone, can you imagine your family leaning about your journey?
Creating a memory box can be a very emotional experience. You may be overcome with sadness at times. If you need to, take a break. Come back after a day or two after you feel better.
This process will also bring satisfaction, as you reflect on your own memories.
Memory boxes for people with Alzheimer’s or another mental disease
As our loved ones Alzheimer’s disease or dementia advances, they’ll start forgetting life as they knew it. With their long term memory gone, many of the special memories they had with their spouse and children will be replaced by confusion and pain.
It helps to have a box of memories that could help them recall better times in their life. In this case, your remembrance box can be smaller and include small items your patient can handle it with ease. Little things can make a big difference:
- pictures of special events such as birthdays, weddings, and picnics
- a scented handkerchief, perfumed with their favorite fragrance
- jewelry such as earrings, tie pins, brooches, and cufflinks
- favorite hobby accessories (did they like to paint? Add some acrylic paints and a couple of brushes. Were they crafty? How about some stickers? You get the idea!)
Imagination is the only limit you’ll face: the goal of making this box is to trigger memories from the past that they miss now. It’s a way to transport them back to a time they felt more sure of themselves, surrounded by familiar faces and places. This is also a way to start conversations: chatting about past hobbies, adventures, and interests.
Your memory box can be as simple or as decorated as you like. If your loved one is a simple person, you can use a shoebox or even a plastic bin. Don’t make it complicated. Think of what would bring the most joy to your loved one and try to do it that way. A crafty person might love a wooden box you painted or added some bling to. Just go with their personality. It’s them you want to please and bring out of their despair.
So, what is a memory box?
It’s a place to collect important mementos from your life or the life of a loved one you lost. A memory box helps bring back memories: some good and some painful. But in the end, it’s a tool you help to heal from a loss.
Frequently asked questions about memory boxes
Should you include bad memories in the box?
That depends: if your loved one went through a lot of pain and suffering, you might want to skip those memories. But if you want to preserve their memory better, you might want to include them and just keep in a separate compartment of the box, so you only see them if you specifically go to that compartment. It’s all up to you.
What goes into a memory box?
Anything that will help you remember the life of a loved one you lost: little things such as jewelry, pictures, love notes, toys, etc.
Why is a memory box important?
For the bereaved, it brings comfort and helps the healing process.
If you are making a memory box because you are terminally ill and want to leave a way for your family (especially children) to remember you, it gives closure, and the assurance your family knows they are loved.
A memory box made for Alzheimer’s patients will help stimulate their long term memory and allow you to make new and precious memories even in the midst of actively losing their identity because of disease.