Sally, a counsellor in our bereavement team, shares how to make a memory jar.
“You may like to make a coloured salt memory jar to help you remember important things about the person who has died. The process of making a memory jar is very therapeutic but it can also be a helpful memory tool for children too.
To make a memory jar you will need:
- A small jar with a lid and wide neck
- 5 coloured chalks/pastels
- 6 pieces of paper
- Some cotton wool
- Fill your jar to the brim with salt. On one of the pieces of paper write down 5 things you remember about your loved one. These could be things you know they liked – such as a football team, something they enjoyed doing, somewhere you went together or something you remember about that person. The memories don’t all have to be positive, it’s important to acknowledge and grieve all aspects of your relationship with the person who has died.
- Now you’ve chosen your 5 memories chose a different colour pastel or chalk to represent each one. Spread out the 5 sheets of paper and divide the salt from your jar between them.
- Colour each pile of salt using one of your chosen chalks/pastels. Simply rub the pastel backwards and forwards over the pile of salt. The salt will then begin to take on the colour of the chalk – the harder you rub the brighter the coloured salt will be.
- Carefully pick up each piece of paper and pour the coloured salts into your jar one at a time. If you tilt your jar you can make waves of colour and other patterns.
- When all the colours have been added, hold the jar and tap it down on a work surface to settle the salt. Do not shake the jar unless you want to mix up all the colours. Then fill any remaining space with plain salt right up to the brim. This is important as it will prevent the colours mixing.
- Place a piece of cotton wool in the lid of the jar, this helps to keep the salt in place. Secure the lid firmly. (You can tape it down with sticky or washi tape to make it more secure).
- You can either keep your list of memories close to your jar or you can put them in another jar to keep them safe and add to over time.
During a lengthy illness, following the funeral, or sometimes long after the death of a loved one grief may become more than you are able or willing to handle. There are services and support which can help you through this time.
Useful Services and information:
Cruse Bereavement Service
Winston’s Wish has a wealth of resources and advice on how to support your child through bereavement, whilst also dealing with your own grief. They also have a free phone helpline you can call.
Childhood Bereavement UK
Child Bereavement UK supports families and educates professionals when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement.