I look through my four year olds drawers and I find that cute outfit she wore when she left the hospital for the first time, she outgrew it a long, long time ago! My husband and I have 99.9% decided that this will be our last child,
so, why am I still keeping it? My husband wants me to throw it all away or donate to a charity shop, but I can?t, I just can?t do it! It holds so many memories and although it is just an item of clothing that no longer has a use to some people, to me it is a keepsake and no matter how much my husband moans at me to have a clear out, there are some items that I will NEVER be parted with. So why are keepsakes so important?
I recently found my old school dress from my last year in primary school, it was covered in my classmates messages of good luck but the one thing?
that stood out to me was what I had written. Even at the age of eleven I was aware of the importance of holding on to memories, I wrote my teachers name from each year in primary school alongside the year they taught me, I knew that memories quickly fade and I wanted to create something that allowed me to recall these memories. I realise that memories are not held within physical items, they are encoded somewhere in my brain, an organ which happens to do its job pretty well. We are capable of remembering?far more than it seems on the surface. The dress was merely a vehicle which allowed me to recall the happy times and the amazing friendships I had but the memories are not in the item itself. They are in my mind and the object just triggers them. This is why keepsakes are so important.
Keepsakes hold a memory, keepsakes make us feel connected to each other, the past, and the future. They are meaningful and unique and a way to build closer bonds across generations, they speak to our values and tell stories about the past that help to enrich the future. A keepsake is something that evokes powerful feelings. Its meaning lies in the story behind it, whether it is a baby scan or children?s hand and footprints, don?t hide them away in a drawer, evoke these happy memories every day, not once in a blue moon when we are clearing out the loft, display them with pride!
Not only is a keepsake a bridge between people, it?s also a bridge between our past and our future. A meaningful and unique gift, a keepsake travels across generations of family and this is what I intend to do with the outfit my daughter was brought home from the hospital in. Keepsakes can support a bereaved child or young person and their family by preserving a continuing link with the person who has died, using their prints to create unique keepsakes that are individual to their siblings will create a lasting memory.