This Christmas, our Social Worker, Elisa, thinks of the thoughtful young mum who she had the privilege of supporting during her final year of life. She remembers the special memory box made from this loving mum to her daughter

As a social worker for over a decade, I often think of the quote: “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” Little *Aurelia was two years old when her mum, *Charlotte, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. With a heavy heart at the thought of not being able to watch her daughter grow into adulthood, Charlotte began archiving significant things to keep aside for her daughter. Her personal legacy project.

Charlotte was an extremely bright and creative person. She had mapped out all of the things she felt would be significant for her daughter to have through her life – a time capsule of special items from the past and significant messages for the future. 

Inside, Aurelia would find an incredible collection of items, from the sentimental through to the practical. A lucky penny, photographs and a comforting teddy adorned in special fabric.

Family medical records should she need them. A separate box held handwritten letters and cards addressed to Aurelia, placed in date order for the different milestones to come. Birthday cards and letters to open every year through to her twenty-first birthday. Her very first letter written on the day she was born, sharing all the ways she had already become her mum’s greatest teacher. A card to open on her first days of school. A note to open should she graduate and a note to open if not. 

She also included the store name that she visited for her first bra fitting when she was a young girl. Should Aurelia choose to marry one day, Charlotte wrote her a letter to open on her wedding day, alongside a wedding dress fund to find the dress of her dreams. 

The little things often make the greatest impact. Legacy work has long been a part of palliative care and memory boxes can hold an impact for loved ones for years to come. Charlotte wanted her daughter to know how loved she is and that death is a part of life –

“Although our time together on earth was short, it was a true gift. You have been my greatest joy and I will live on in you.”

*Pseudonyms are used throughout

Dedicate a star for our Light up a Life appeal

Read more stories