Making a Family Heirloom

Doctor Marion, My great grandfather wants to leave and/or make something for the family but he’s not sure what. Do you have any suggestions? Carla in Delaware

Dear Carla,

It’s quite common for an elder loved one who’s looking back on life to suddenly get a desire to make a family heirloom that ties everything together. Most people get a biological urge that says, “I have been here and this is my gift to you,” and want to leave something behind for family and friends to enjoy.

This might be a photograph album or a unique quilt or a recording of family stories or a collection of ethnically-specific memorabilia. I’ve also seen my clients build a birdhouse of start a stamp and coin collection in their final months. It’s usually something that reflects your elder’s own interests and sense of style. Encourage the project. Your great grandfather might undertake a genealogy search, even if it’s never been of interest to him before.

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