My dad died when I was 11. It was sudden. We were best friends. We spent so much time together, riding horses, walking our 3 dogs, taking care of our other menagerie of pets, and just laughing together.
When I lost my dad, my mom enrolled me in a grief program at Ohio State University. I didn’t want to go. The first day they asked for the kids to bring pictures of their loved one who had died. the following week, a woman brought back canvas versions of those photos. Then we were asked to bring in personal items. I brought in a jacket, sweater and a blanket he used.
We wove all of these memories together by making a quilt that incorporated the photos, and the materials from the jacket and sweater. I have slept with this blanket every night. My dad is still with me.