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Linking Objects

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

"Pills Grandpa!" These two words make me smile. My dad had a certain medication he was required to take each day at the same time. To make it easier, he bought a small steel vial with a screw top lid. He kept the vial in his pocket. Each day at 4o'clock his watch alarm would ding as a reminder to take the pill. If his grandchildren were with him when his watched alarm dinged they would yell, "pills grandpa!". Dad would laugh, take the vial from his pocket, unscrew the lid and take his pill. This routine became a part of his life.

After Dad died, I asked for the pill vial. I love the weight of it, the smoothness of the steel and the memory of the importance it played in dad's life. I also love the fact that his grandchildren all remember the 4o'clock routine. It is a sweet memory.

Alan Wolfelt, Center for Loss, would call this small steel vial a "linking object". To a casual observer this silver container with the screw top lid is insignificant. For me, however, it is a link to my dad. It is a memory holder. This small vial bridges the gap between the two of us. It not only represents the past, but it also helps preserve a memory of a grandpa enjoying his grandkids.

A linking object is anything that connects you to your loved one. It can be an object like a picture, a teapot, a watch or bracelet or a book. In the broader sense of the phrase, a linking object could be an observance like continuing to enjoy morning coffee on the porch because you enjoyed that together. It is in the observance that you feel the connection. It may be a song, movie or quote.

Whatever your "linking object" is, continue to enjoy it, continue to carry it, continue to honor it. You need not share the significance with anyone else. If this brings you comfort and peace then stay linked to the object for as long as it serves you.


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