My husband and I both lost our fathers this year. One funeral was in March and the other in early May. We're thinking of them this Memorial Day, but both cemeteries are 5-6 hours away. So the rearranged shelves at home are our visiting place, containing reminders of them that make us smile. If we need to cry, they help us do that as well. My father gave me my great-grandfather's pocket watch and it hangs encased in glass on one shelf. My husband's father gave him his great-grandfather's pipe collection and it has found its special place in our home also.
We are still looking at old pictures and now remembering more people we miss, and our sentimentality over lost pets seems to have heightened as well. I even did a memorial service for some puppies that were never adequately mourned more than 25 years ago. Our little dog turned nine last month and now the vet requires a "senior profile" for when his teeth get cleaned. We want him to age no more and just stay our perfect pet and companion forever. Of course, this is an impossible dream. Instead, we feel and express our simple gratitude more often. We say it to each other, in prayers, to our pet, and to our loved ones still with us.
Memorial Day helps us continue to heal. We take some time to think, feel, and talk. We laugh and cry. We contact loved ones we can still talk to, and if we can get together, there are many hugs. It is a very good thing.