In April, we buried my mother. She was the grandmother of nine, and great-grandmother of twenty-six when she died. It was in losing her that I realized that it really is the very small things that create our most vivid memories.
Her grandchildren fought over her possessions. Don’t get me wrong, there were no diamonds, no cars, or anything else that most people measure wealth by. So what were the items you ask? What were the worldly goods our adult children coveted?
It was old McDonald toys mostly.
Yeah. You know the ones. The kind you get out of Happy Meals. You must be thinking about now that they were out of their minds. But in fact, those silly little toys meant the world to them.
Her grandchildren remembered how she used to take them to McDonalds.
That’s why it was important. Not for the value of the toy. But instead, for what it reminded them of. Their time together.
Did you know that we remember smells as children more vividly than faces?
How do you think your grandchildren will remember visiting your home? For that matter, how do you think they will remember you?
Most organizational gurus will tell you that if you want to set a goal, begin by visualizing your funeral. The people sitting in the front row, your children and grandchildren, are all crying.
What will be their memories of you? Will they remember the awesome trips you took them on? Or how about the gifts you gave?
Now consider this, what about the perfume you are wearing?
Not too long ago, my oldest grandson picked me up and swung me around. He gave me such a tight hug. I loved it. But then he said,
“Grandma, you smell good. I’m glad you don’t smell like ‘old lady'”
Yeah. Me too. I’m not so sure what “old lady’ smells like– but if I can help it–I say let’s not smell like it.
In fact, he mentioned that I smell good. Then he says, “I’m glad you don’t smell old.”
When your grandchildren walk into your home what do they smell?
I may not be a cookie-baking grandma, but by-golly, I can light a candle. Even so, when your grandchildren are sitting in that front row, what will they be remembering about you? You know, it doesn’t have to be whether or not you smelled old.
But rather, it could be exactly what you want it to be. Set a goal. Think about what it will be like when you’re gone. Then set out to create that memory for your grandchildren.
For me, I want my grandchildren to say that she always smiled at them. I want them to remember that my home smelled like dinner was ready, and laughter rang in the halls.