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What can Kids Hold Onto After a Parent has Died?

Harriet Hodgson

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It has been just over a month since my daughter was killed in a car crash. Every day has been a day of tears, some voiced, some silent. My 15-year-old twin grandchildren are so overcome with grief they are almost paralysed. Both of them are looking for reminders of their mom, things they can hold onto, and my husband and I have given them things.

The twins want to hear stories about their mother. But it is the values their mother instilled in them - values passed from one generation to the next - that will help them most. So I typed a list of their mother's values for them. The title is “Some of the Values Your Mother Gave You" because other values will become clear in time. Values are something the kids can hold onto, indeed, they are a prescription for life.

FAMILY IS IMPORTANT. Your mother found love and support in her family. She wanted you to have this, too, which is why we had Pampa for dinner when you came and why she took you to see him when he was dying.

GET AN EDUCATION. Read your mother's resume and you will see that she was always learning. She knew more knowledge would lead her to better jobs and a better life.

WORK HARD. Your mother worked hard for you. That is why she got up at the crack of dawn and drove two hours to her job and two hour home. She wanted you to live in the house she chose for you and attend the high school you wanted to attend.

BE A CARING, SPIRITUAL PERSON. Your mother believed that kindness leads to more kindness and this is why she was a Girl Scout leader, a church volunteer, and gave back to the community in other ways.

SHARE WHAT YOU HAVE. There were times in life when your mother did not have much, but she always shared what she had: extra children's clothing, appliances, food (Christmas cookies and apple pie) and plants. Sharing made your mother feel good inside.

BE HONEST AND ETHICAL. When your mother worked for one company a disgruntled worker threatened to take production shortcuts because your mother, a female, was his boss. His threat was not only unethical, it was unsafe, and your mother told him if he left out a bolt she would shut down production.

LAUGH EVERY DAY. Thanks to “The Big Book" and the way she lived her life, your mother found laughter in life. Laughter energized her and delighted those around her. Your mother would want you to laugh every day and enjoy the life you have.

Copyright 2007 by Harriet Hodgson

Harriet Hodgson has been a freelance nonfiction writer for 28 years. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and the Association for Death Education and Counseling. Her 24th book, “Smiling Through Your Tears: Anticipating Grief, " written with Lois Krahn, MD, is available from . A five-star review of the book is posted on Amazon. You will find another review on the American Hospice Foundation Web site under the “School Corner" heading, along with articles Hodgson has written. The Health Ministries Association has also posted a review of the book on its Web site.


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