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The Museum of Memories- a therapeutic story about traumatic loss

The therapeutic story I want to share today is written by a wonderful therapeutic play practitioner, artist, writer and educator, Vasavi Koka. I've had the pleasure of mentoring Vasavi and supporting her to share her gift of storytelling and this story is just one example of the magical stories she creates. This particular story focuses on the pain of traumatic loss, and will be supportive for children who have experienced war, displacement or natural disasters. As you will see, the story leads very naturally into children creating their own Museum of Memories, and there are some great creative suggestions and ideas for further activities at the end of this post.

You can see more of Vasavi's work here, and if you feel inspired to work with me to create your own therapeutic stories, please do get in touch.

I'll leave the rest of the words to Vasavi, enjoy.

"Loss and grief are one of the hardest things to process and suppressing these feelings

can only make the loss more difficult to bear. As I read about what is happening around the world and seeing the conflict that has arisen in many countries, as I read about children who have been faced with unimaginable loss, it compelled me to write a therapeutic story that sheds a spotlight on the power of artistry and how this can be used as a form of catharsis. I wanted my story to offer hope and strategies that may bring some semblance of comfort.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve but to have a way to hold these precious memories allows children to grieve in a way that is right for them. Creativity is an essential part of the human experience and stories can offer some comfort. I hope that my small gift will offer some consolation at a time of distress and some ideas on how to commemorate the invaluable memories we hold inside of us and preserve them for all time."

Creative Activities

Mini Memorial Exhibit using objects

Do you have any special objects or items in your home that hold sentimental value? Think about why certain objects resonate with you. What is it about these objects that makes them so precious? They may remind you of a wonderful memory that you shared with someone you love. Does the object speak to you? Once you have these answers, you can then begin the process of telling a story using your objects. Think about creating a space for them. This could be inside a box or on a shelf in your room. Remember there is no right or wrong way of doing this. This is your collection and your story – it is about you. Once you have thought about the memories you would like to display you can start arranging the objects in any way you wish. You can even add a small piece of text underneath to remind you in words of something someone may have said, or the name of a place, or colour, or scent. Once you have completed your exhibition, take a photograph of it so you can store it away somewhere safe, ready for you to look at whenever you need to.

Using an object to tell a story

Stories are a great way to keep a memory alive. A story can capture memories and reignite feelings which are special and unique to you. Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to know where to start. Objects can be invaluable starting points, for example, you may have something like a stone or shell that conjures up memories of a special day out. The object itself can trigger those memories and the more you look at it and feel it in your hands, smell it, absorb its texture, the more your story can come to life. Try using an object or a series of objects to retell your story of a memory that you would like to preserve.

Collection in a drawer

Create your own collection in a drawer. You can paint the inside of your drawer using a range of colours or one colour. Once your drawer is ready, you can begin the process of collecting objects, artefacts, clothing, jewellery, letters, postcards, leaves, stones, shells, absolutely anything that is important to YOU. It does not have to make sense to anyone else. Once you have your memorabilia and objects, you can begin to arrange your collection. To make it even more fun, you can make stands or plinths to house and display your objects. Be as creative you want with this exercise. As you curate (arrange) your collection, try and see your object in different ways. Take the time to study it carefully, observe its textures and colours. Note what comes up for you and write this down. You can display this in your exhibition if you wish.

Portable Museum of Memories

As reflected in the story, memories remain inside us. They are yours and can never be taken away. Sometimes having an object or an item of clothing can make us feel closer to a loved one when they are no longer there. You can create a small box of items which hold precious value to you and fill it with words, stories, memories; something that can be tucked away in a bag or your pocket. This comforting keepsake is yours to cherish, to touch, look at and feel whenever you need it.

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