Using recognition, even in times of our greatest grief, can provide comfort and touch people lives.
My Auntie Sue had not even reached her 60th birthday when she passed away from cancer. She was an incredible person, full of life, positive, happy, had many friends; we couldn’t believe her life was cut short. A year after she passed, my family gathered for a celebration of life. We knew we wanted to remember her, but we didn’t want it to feel forced or awkward. So, we took a leaf out of Auntie Sue’s book and we made it fun.
We used F.R.O.G. Forever Recognize Others’ Greatness™ to honour my Auntie Sue.
We took a frog charm with a pink ribbon for breast cancer. Whoever was holding the charm shared a memory, a funny story, an attribute or gift she had, or a story of how she had touched their life.
By the time it got to her husband (my uncle), he was choked up. “I wish that we had done this when she was alive.” One of my kids looked at him and said, “Well, why don’t we that for each other now?”
Out of the mouth of babes, right?
So that’s exactly what we did. We had a bit of an awkward moment of trying to guess each other’s favourite colours (turns out we don’t know that about each other!) Then, we took turns being recognized. Each member of the family passed around our charm, again sharing a funny memory, story or what they most admired in us. They honoured our greatness. And by it being sparked by commemorating Auntie Sue and because she would have loved to be a part of that, it honoured her too.
Now, some of us felt more comfortable receiving public compliments than others (I for one, surprise, surprise had no problem!) However, we did it for her. And each one of us experienced that endorphin rush when you experience positive things. Who would have expected to feel better leaving a Celebration of Life than when you came in?
A few weeks later, I received a text from my cousin. She shared how much the day meant to her and her dad. And, she attached a picture. It was a shadow box containing four FROG charms – my aunt’s, my uncle’s, hers and her fiance’s. Today that is proudly displayed in my uncle’s front hall and it’s one of the first things you see. It’s apparently a common source of inquiry, and how lovely to retell the story of the day we all recognized Sue’s greatness together.
How can you honour your family’s greatness? How can you bring recognition into your family gatherings? How can it comfort you during a loss? How do you already do these things? Will you share your strategies and ideas below?
If you felt that this was powerful for you, or you know somebody who is looking for an idea about how to celebrate somebody that they’ve lost, why don’t you share the video or post with them? A problem shared is a problem halved, isn’t that what they say?
Sending you warmth, support, and comfort if you’re going through a difficult time. Recognizing your greatness in how well you’re handling it.