remembering, supporting, celebrating?
May 7, 2011 7:34 AM   Subscribe

commemorating the 10-year anniversary of a parent's death?

i can't believe it, but it's been nearly 10 years since a parent of mine passed away. i've been thinking about it a lot lately, and would like to commemorate it, maybe even with some sort of party/celebration/holy goddamn, do we miss you! event of some kind. not morbid, not morose or sad -- but community building, earnest, reflective, supportive, just maybe even a bit of fun. you know?

there are a few things i'm thinking -- inviting family, close friends, showing old slides and sifting through pictures, food, drink. respecting that not everyone will be into this, which is totally understandable. would keep it small (our family is pretty big, though) -- maybe 30 people max.

i'm grappling for what we would actually *do* at this, though. can you help me?

some ideas i'm tossing around:
-sharing favorite stories
-taking turns sharing things we wish they'd been around to see
-i wish i could think of some physical *thing* to do, something along the lines of scrapbook building or something?
-giving people a momento of some kind? maybe a picture?

any other ideas? thanks so much in advance.
posted by crawfo to Human Relations (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You could make it a public service thing, like planting a tree in a park, or raising funds for something that your parents cared about.
My grandmother died of cancer 37 years ago. For treatment, she travelled to California, where she had to live in an RV in the parking lot of the hospital. To honor her memory, my family now raises money every year for Casa Esperanza in Albuquerque, a charity that gives out of town cancer patients a place to stay while they are undergoing cancer treatment. It is a way to honor and remember her, and help people who are going through the same thing.
posted by pickypicky at 8:02 AM on May 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think this is a really great idea. Who wouldn't want to be remembered and celebrated by people who loved you and miss you? Showing slides and old pictures would be fun .. playing your parent's favorite music, serving a few of their favorite foods. You could get a large blank poster board, a bunch of markers, stickers and duplicate old photos, and ask people to bring something to add to it .. a matchbook from a favorite restaurant that they frequented with your parent, an old ticket stub of an event, or just have them write a note, scribble a favorite memory or draw a picture. Then when the party is over, frame it.
posted by Kangaroo at 8:08 AM on May 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Picture share? I bought one of those little $50 snapshot scanners some time back that makes it real easy to scan photos - it just puts them on an SD card. I think - particularly for someone who has been gone since the rise of digital pictures - it would be nice to get everyone together and share memories and pictures so erone gets not only to see but have copies of each others stuff. You could do voice recordings too if you so desired.
posted by phearlez at 9:27 AM on May 7, 2011

If you want to go the family/close friends thing, one notion and two possible ways to accomplish it.

-- buy a nice, bound journal sort of thing, and at this function, let everyone take their turns writing their memories of, or a letter to, said parent. It would be a cathartic, heartfelt tribute. But there would only be one copy.

- alternately, and maybe better. Contact everyone, and ask them to do the above in their own time, in the privacy of their own space, with time for reflection and the chance to say things just the way they mean them. Then take all the stories, any pictures etc, and put them into something you can make a short run of ala or the like. Don't overthink it as far as design 0r anything. One picture per person, at the head of their contribution. Believe me, no one is going to be grousing about the layout.

Then you could give everyone a copy at said function. Not only would it be a tribute to the parent, but it might also create a common bond with all the guests. There might be some exchanges of.."Oh wow, I never knew you two did that.", or "Jeez, they did the same thing with me once!" sort of stuff. Even ten years later, the memories of one absent person, might bring a lot of family and friends even closer together. This usually is a good thing.

Just a thought.
posted by timsteil at 10:21 AM on May 7, 2011

This is a great idea. I like the part about sharing what you wish they'd been around to see.

For a memento, what about taking a photo of the group smiling and toasting to the person? I imagine a page with two vertical headshots of your loved one up top, and the group photo across the bottom, with the words, "Here's to you, Person!" and 2011 really large, maybe with "In honor and lovig memory of Person Lastname (19xx-2001)" somewhere on the page. If you have a photo printer and a helper, you could potentially set it up ahead of time, then during the event, drop in the group photo and print it out before the end of the night.

Good luck. This sounds like a wonderful thing to do.
posted by salvia at 11:41 AM on May 7, 2011

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