WYG CONFESSION: I saw Fifty Shades of Grey. In the theatre. I think/hope that those of you who spend time at WYG know me well enough to know that seeing FSOG (Is that the official internet abbreviation?) was not at the top of my to-do list. For the record, I did not even read Fifty Shades of Grey. So, you may be wondering what took me to the theatre to see it. You may be even more curious why in the world I am writing about it today. Let’s go back a few steps. This does have to do with grief. Promise.
A couple years ago, my friend’s mom died. It was… well, you all probably know what it was or you wouldn’t be hanging out on a grief website reading this. It was surreal. It was devastating. It was a bottomless pit of despair. I wrote a post about how it spiraled me into a puddle of tears in the middle of the sock aisle at Target. My friend wrote a post about the tattoo she got in memory of her mom. It has been over two years now, which seems impossible to believe. Time has turned elastic, the way it does. At moments, it feels like it has been two months and, at others, like it has been two decades. This past weekend would have been my friend’s mom’s birthday and I knew there would be birthday plans. For birthdays, for anniversaries, for special days, my friend always makes plans. She is amazing that way, inviting people to share memories of her mom, bringing people together the way her mom did.
This year, when the email came about plans for her mom’s birthday, my friend explained she wanted to do something a little different. Instead of just doing something that she had done with her mom in the past, she wanted to do whatever she and her mom would have done for her birthday this year if her mom was still alive. Instead of just doing something that she had done with her mom in the past, she imagined what her mom would have wanted to do in this moment in time. The answer to that question was clear: She would want to go see Fifty Shades of Grey in the theatre. Obvs. Oh, and eat apple squares.
Flight of ideas, bear with me: My dad was a big beer drinker. He loved beer and, in the years since he died, craft beers and microbreweries have taken off. When I walk into a bar with 18 microbrews on tap, or a liquor store with shelves filled with hundreds of craft beers, I so often think, My dad would have loved this. Much like the moment my friend saw the preview for FSOG and thought, My mom would have loved this.
When we remember our loved ones, it isn’t just remembering the things we know they loved or the things that were part of their lives. Part of continuing bonds is connecting the memory of the person we loved into the life that we live today. Remembering doesn’t have to be only about the past, but also about connecting our loved one to the present. It can be about remembering them in the context of new things: Things they never saw, but things you wish they could have seen and known. Sounds sad, I know. But I promise it can actually be really great and comforting.
We have given many ideas for things you can do to honor and remember your loved one for birthdays and anniversaries AND we have suggestions for continuing bonds with your loved one. But today, we want to remind you that the things we do to remember our loved one and keep their memories alive can be little, everyday things. It can be as simple as looking at the world and taking a moment to acknowledge the things they would have loved. We often see things we know they would have loved, but hesitate to say anything for fear that it will make others around us sad, or uncomfortable, or whatever. So today, I am here to say stop holding yourself back from saying something! When these things pop up in the world around you, acknowledge them and share them.
The WYG Super-Duper Unofficial ‘Would Have Loved This’ Challenge
We are making this an official challenge by starting a hashtag. When these moments come up, post something about it on social media using the hashtag #WouldHaveLovedThis. Now, for those of you who don’t use hashtags, it is super easy. Just share a post (a photo, text, etc.) and then add #WouldHaveLovedThis to the caption. When you click on or search that hashtag, you will then be able to see every other post on that topic where someone has used the hashtag. You can add the hashtag to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest… wherever! Don’t quite get it? Let me give you an example.
I might post on Facebook or Instagram the photo of my movie stub and say “Went to see 50 Shades of Grey. Jeanne C. #WouldHaveLovedThis” …or I might Tweet “Just heard a new song by Ryan Adams. So great, Pete #WouldHaveLovedThis”.
We’ll be posting some #WouldHaveLovedThis posts about those we love and miss. We hope you’ll do the same, not just today or this week or this month, but anytime going forward that you see something that you know your loved one would have loved.
Share the things your loved one would have loved in a comment or on social media with the hashtag! And don’t forget to subscribe to get all our fabulous grief posts right to your email.