This week we will observe Pearl Harbor Day in America. For older loved ones, this day has special meaning, and it should not be lost in the chaos of the holidays.
I remember listening to my mother as she shared her memories of the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. That memory was powerful for her.
On December 7, that day of remembering the attack, the sacrifices made by our service men and women, and the loss to their families and to our society, Chris and I find ourselves thinking about ways to honor our mothers’ memories.
Ask your loved one if they remember Pearl Harbor or other significant milestones that affected our country in this manner. Listen to their reflections and ask questions. They will feel valued, and you might even learn something! These memories hold powerful emotions, so be prepared if grief is one of the feelings your loved one experiences as they talk about these events.
Ask questions that are open-ended and not those that can be answered with a response of yes or no. This way you will encourage conversation and open memory doors that were long shut.
If possible, attend a special service for veterans, or write notes together to honor those who serve today to carry on the legacy of defending our freedoms. Look at pictures of service men and women today, and compare them to pictures of World War II. If you loved one resists talking about war memories, as my father always did, then don’t force this experience. My dad served in the Army during WWII; he was in North Africa and Europe, and I’m sure he saw unimaginable things, but those memories are gone forever now.
We hope you’ll join us this week here at Heart of the Caregiver to share your thoughts on honoring military service and sacrifice during the holidays.