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A conversation with one of the dieticians at Dad's Senior Center stimulated my often sluggish mind into conceiving a potentially comforting project for my father as he travels down what is probably the last journey he'll ever take. This insightful woman commented on the topics Dad likes to discuss and how much he enjoys that, when she and her co-worker visit for their semi-annual assessment. I have the impression that these really stimulate him, traveling down these old mental roads of significant life experiences. I've noticed as well that he loves to reminisce about his military experience and his travels as a young man. So I was thinking...instead of holiday trees with seasonal decorations, what about a memory tree with photos of his life? I know there are a lot of photos of us as a family, some of his military life, and other miscellaneous photos. (I just don't know where all of them are.) I was thinking of asking family members to e-mail early and current photos of their children and grandchildren specifically for a family tree, which I'll place in areas that Dad can see it and be reminded of what he and my deceased Mother created during their lifetime. It'll be much easier than getting out photo albums, although I still use those. I want something to be a cheerful reminder, as he navigates his house, i.e., a children's tree on the kitchen table might slow down his eating, provoke calming thoughts, and hopefully create a "bonding" experience so that eating alone is more pleasurable. A tree on a bedroom nightstand would be a "good morning wake up" greeting. A tree in his field of vision in the living room could soothe him to sleep as he reminisces. A tree as he returns home from a doctor's office could help switch focus from his health to something more pleasurable. I'll use artificial trees that I can get on sale at Jo-ann Fabrics or Michael's. Photos can be glued to poster board; on the back would be data on each child, event, or plane. One attraction as well, and this is just as important, would be that visitors would see them, comment, and a conversation begins. That would especially be the case with the military photos, or even an airplane tree of WWII Warbirds. But I'm wondering if these would just too nostalgic, creating sadness for times long gone as well as the current not too bright future. Perhaps it's a delicate balance? When I visit Memory Lane, it's usually positive, reminding me of accomplishments, friends, activities, past gardens and more. It does make me wish I'd lived life differently, but that's done and gone now and there's no sense regretting it. Thoughts?

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Dear GardenArtist,

Thank you for your this beautiful suggestion. I think its a wonderful idea.
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GA, it seems that your father enjoys these discussions so I'd say go right ahead and more power to you. And if in time he seems not to be enjoying them so much, you can always edit the display. Good practical idea, well done!
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