How conscious are we when we consider a celebration for significant people in our life? It is easy to fall into a trap of thinking we need to buy the most expensive gift. But from experience I have seen how other ways have been so much more touching….and the impact lifelong.
Estelle took close on a year to put together a scrapbook as a celebration of her mother’s 70th birthday. The book was overflowing with beautiful scrapbook images on each page surrounding a mass of photographs of truly special times. It took her mother a long time to page through this book as she was taken back to so many golden memories of her life. This book will feed her soul for many years to come.
When Pierre turned fifty his wife knew he could easily let the day pass as a normal day. She knew her husband did not like to be the centre of attention. But she also felt it was a special milestone requiring a celebration. So she contacted people who either had been or still were significant in his life. And she asked them to write him something: about life, their relationship with him, their wishes for the future for him, a poem, etc. On the day of his birthday, she handed him a pile of unopened letters. A few days later when he was on his own, he savoured each of them. Little had he known how many people’s lives he had touched and how they appreciated having met him. Subsequently these letters have been put in a beautiful book – a keepsake for one day when he looks back over his life.
When Barbara turned 75 her daughter did something similar as a birthday celebration. She asked for letters from Barbara’s friends, siblings and children. Although the booklet was far from pretty like the one Estelle did for her mother, Barbara read and re-read those letters many, many times. These letters made her feel significant at a time in her life when she was feeling vulnerable and questioning so many aspects in her life.
Mini slide shows
Talitha loved making slideshows for special occasions. She was aware that her aunt who lived in another country was getting older. And so she created a power point slide show highlighting the key aspects of what she admired in her aunt. She wanted a celebration of her aunt’s life. So she populated the slide show with old family photographs she managed to find. She also included images of nature she had taken herself as well as inspirational quotes that were symbolic of her aunt. Her aunt was deeply touched by this validation.
On other occasions Talitha would either write a note highlighting details or do a slide show as a celebration of friends after a special vacation with them.
So why celebrate differently?
How often do we actually tell the significant people in our life that we love them? Why do we honour someone at their funeral when they are not here to hear what we have to say? Would it not be more meaningful to celebrate them while they are alive?
Each of us has a universal need to be validated by others. We want to know that our life matters and others appreciate us for who we are. It seems as if these heart-felt “gifts” speak directly to another person’s heart and soul.
A little bit of thought into how can do this, is well worth the lasting impact it has on another person’s well-being. Celebrations like these above touch the very core of another person. The impact is often life changing.
If you would like to explore ways to celebrate a special person’s life you may want to talk ideas through with an independent confidante. Or perhaps you want to celebrate your life in a different way for a change!
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