Monday, August 20, 2007

Memories Never Die

Just a note: After reading this, if you have the time, watch one of the videos in the sidebar. They are important and touching and so deeply illustrate the purpose of this post.
Thanks,
Lisa
My closest friend became a wife and mother at the end of our senior year in high school. She doted over Bradley and in spite of her young age was a wise and nurturing mother. Bradley grew up and so did she. He was followed soon after by another son. Her children and husband are her life, that's just how it is.
Early on a spring morning last year she answered the phone to hear the words every parent fears the most. Bradley was dead. Killed instantly in an automobile accident. She hasn't been the same since. She goes on. She even thrives and continues to live the God-centered life she'd lived before Bradley's tragic death but every day is filled with memories of her son - the firefighter, the wrestler, the tiny baby that launched her days as a mother.

For a while my friend maintained Bradley's MySpace page. His friends dropped by to leave messages to him, telling him how much they missed him. They left favorite memories, the "remember the time" stories, the kind that help people move beyond the grief to remembrance and solace. And over a year later, my friend still posts thoughts about Bradley on her own MySpace page. Her profile picture is not one of herself but a favorite picture of her son.

Bradley's loss and my friend's memorials to him made me stop and think. What if there was a special place on the Internet to display and nurture those memories, a page designed for just such a task? A page that could be maintained forever or for as long as the loved ones needed a place to meet and share feelings?

It exists and it's called Memory-of. com, http://www.memory-of.com/public/.

For a small monthly fee, a reduced yearly fee, or a lifetime donation, Memory-of will maintain a multimedia memorial website that is interactive and life affirming or there to express whatever the family needs at that moment in time. I spent sometime going through a few of the sites. They were filled with pictures and videos of the lost loved one. Some were lost to accidents, violence or illness. One was in honor of a grandmother and the sight gave the family a place to collect stories and catalog important events along a timeline of her days on Earth.

I cried as if I knew Michael Schafer, a soldier killed in a fire fight in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He was so handsome, a young father and dedicated to his fellow comrades. He's obviously greatly missed.

From personal experience, it's clear to me that memories of people we loved never die. What we do with them is our choice...bury them and try to forget, box up sentimental items and take them out on birthdays and anniversaries, or maintain an interactive website as a living symbol of a life well spent. It's up to us but it's nice to know this option is out there for those who find comfort in using it.

I talk to my friend often and she summed it up best when she said, "I can shed tears that Bradley is gone, or I can smile because he lived. I can close my eyes and pray that he will come back, or I can open my eyes and see all he left behind."

The Memory-of website is one way to do that....see and cherish all they left behind.

11 comments:

Margaret said...

The videos were very moving. Thank you for this post.

Lisa McGlaun said...

Margaret,

I thought so too. It was almost too much for me to watch after writing the post..I plan to go back later when I can watch with a little bit more detachment.

thanks for the comment,
Lisa

Happily Anonymous said...

I can't fathom the loss of a child. My condolences to your friend.

Lisa McGlaun said...

Thank you for that, Happily. She's coping as best as she can. Losing a child is such a horror.

Vienne said...

Oh boy what a powerful site Memory-of is. I'm going to visit again when I feel stronger. Tonight's short visit left me a tearful little blogger.

karen said...

Thank you so much for sharing this.

Lisa McGlaun said...

You're welcome Karen. Thanks for the comment.

La delirante said...

"I can shed tears that Bradley is gone, or I can smile because he lived. I can close my eyes and pray that he will come back, or I can open my eyes and see all he left behind."

Hello Lisa, These words really moved me. I hope I will always keep them in mind. Thanks for sharing,

Wen.

Lisa McGlaun said...

Wen,
I know what you mean. I thought they were so powerful. I hope I remember it, too, if the need ever arises.

My friend is a very stong woman.

Lisa

Kathleen Maher said...

What a good friend you are. How brave these mothers and sons are, and how heart-breaking their stories.
I shed tears through my smile and smile as I weep. For me, the two are inseparable, as are life and death.
As someone who tells anyone who'll pretend to listen about my baby sister, killed by a drunk driver twenty years ago, what I remember about her and how I loved her--I believe whole heartedly that the memory of our loved ones live on. Yet, I'm also deeply aware that some people need to act as if they've forgotten to get through the day. And don't be fooled--no one actually forgets.But to behave as if everything's fine when you're heart never feels whole again is a grief-stricken person's right.
No one way of grieving is more laudable than another.
Like some of the others here, when I feel stronger, I'll visit the website, which will reach and touch and possibly even soothe more people that could previously ever know of so much love and so much loss.
It's hard sometimes to know how to reach a person in mourning, what to say or do: you've found a wonderful and important way to help.

Lisa McGlaun said...

Kathleen,

It's true that everyone must deal with death in their own way. It took me 12 years to feel ready to write about the tragic loss of my foster daughter..but I finally did because writing is how I process my feelings, writing is how I stay healthy.

I've experienced people dealing with death in many different ways..and that is how it should be it's a very personal process that we each go through alone, no matter how many people are around us attempting to make it better.

Memory-of.com is one of the ways that people like me, who are inclined to write about feelings, might find helpful during their journey.

Thanks for your heartfelt comment.