As we emerge from a year like no other, I was reminded of a few things. Of how every sector of life has been affected. We’ve clapped for the NHS , which has been amazing but what of the supermarket staff, care workers and Funeral Directors to mention but a few, all putting their lives at risk to be there for others.
I was chatting to a friend whose Dad sadly passed away 2 years ago in Ireland. Estates & wills , house sales etc are always lengthy processes at the best of times but then a Global pandemic comes along & everything grinds to a halt. Unable to travel let alone tie up his affairs, her grieving journey is in limbo.
I feel very lucky that I haven’t lost anyone to Covid but sadly so many have.I recently held our beloved family cat as he slipped away which was heartbreaking, but I felt so relieved that i was able to do that. It is absolutely unimaginable how poor families that have not been allowed to be by their loved ones side must be feeling. Then this arrived in the post. A beautiful, touching memento of our furry friend. Even though adding fingerprints to memory furniture is a service we offer, in that moment, as Bert slipped away it never occurred to me to take his paw print. But now when we come to say goodbye to another pet it is something I will consider.
I wonder how many families have lost loved ones in care homes and not even being able to access their belongings, go through their personal possessions and clear out their rooms even.
My Mum passed away just 3 years after my Dad 3 years before her. Unbeknown to me and my Sister, Mum Had spent that time getting her affairs in order. There was still a great deal to organize and I remember the feelings of guilt. As if we were giving her life away. When we donated clothes & other items to charity shops etc. it was like a betrayal. But the fact is, you simply can’t keep hold of everything that belonged to them. Her house sold very quickly and it was a bit of a blur.
So often I hear from clients that they feel guilty for not wanting to keep items of furniture in their homes that had belonged to their Parents or Grandparents for example. It may have been their pride and joy but It is not necessarily to your taste. They may love it but you don’t like it, or at least not in its original state. It is not disrespectful to deal with things as you see fit. This is how FMN memory furniture was created.
I kept one item in particular belonging to my late parents. It was a reproduction mahogany corner cabinet. The kind everyones parents had in the 70s. With a glazed top door behind which sat her Coalport China . Mum was very house proud and her front room was ‘for best’ . High days & holidays . The bottom door hid/housed her sherry and brandy for special occasions.
Sitting lonely & yes unloved in my garage for over three years after she died, I didn’t want anyone else to have it, I never intended to paint it and sell it but just didn’t know where or how it would work in my modern home. Until Christmas 2020 that is and suddenly I knew exactly what I needed to do with it.
My Mum started a tradition over 30 years ago. Each Christmas she would buy me and my Sisters a Snow Baby Ornament . A tradition we have carried on after losing our parents. We still buy each other one every year. As you can imagine there’s quite a collection now. I do love when it’s time for them to make an appearance, and feel sad when they have to be packed away. This year nowhere that I placed them felt right. This is when it came to me that Mum‘s former drinks cabinet would make the perfect home for them.
I set about creating my own memory furniture. Our house is decorated in neutral Scandi tones so the dark wood regency cupboard didn’t fit at all. I got to work removing the doors and the shaped plinth on the bottom before I began refinishing it in a contemporary grey colour. The shelves were given a woodgrain effect in a taupe. The finishing touch was an angel feather containing some of my Mums ashes which I discreetly attached to the top cornice . My snow babies were home.
As part of my journey with FMN I have reached out to various organizations, forming relationships with those in the funeral industry, house clearance agencies, care homes, hospice and other makers of Keepsakes.We share a passion and common goal to assist bereaved families on their grief journey. Helping to preserve something precious, creating links from the past with their future. Because after the rain there is sun & when the two come together they create magic. What lies beyond is up to us…