Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Memory Jar & Planting My Dad's Tree

My sweet father passed away late January of Alzheimer’s. He was known as a strong, gentle man and truly the best father five daughters could ask for. My dear father loved the outdoors, his girls and his garden.

A friend of my sister gave her a thoughtful gift at his passing that I’m now creating for our home. The questions not only revive his memory, but may help my kids know their Papa John.  

The jar holds various questions which stirs forgotten memories, like my dad’s rough hands from carpentry; how he’d dance with his fingers shaped like guns to Buddy Holly, Jimmy Dean and Jonny Cash; how us girls waited impatiently to dance with him even in his sweaty plaid shirt he wore for work.

Here is just a sample of the questions in the jar which may help you draw memories of past loved ones. 
  • What is something you say that he used to always say? (for me, Half Assed! or Half Fast) 
  • What items could you always find in his pockets? (Pocket knife and a white hankie)
  • Describe a typical Sunday in your home.(warm and cozy)
  • If you close you eyes and picture him in your childhood home, what is he doing? (sitting on the couch giving me (what I called) strokes-or cuddles)
  • What was his middle name? From who was he named? (Royal, from his father)
  • Where did he take your mom out on dates? (Hire's Big H)
  • What was the best advice he ever gave you? (Always know who you are)
  • What was his favorite drink? (Diet Coke)
  • Where did he grow up? (Lewingston Idaho)
  • Were his hands soft or rough? (rough and sratchy, he had thick fingers)
  • What did he smell like? (Often like work, and the outdoors)
  • Describe the outfit you most remember him wearing. (plaid shirt, Dickies pants, worn leather belt)

This weekend, we finally planted a tree in memory of my dad. Each daughter and my mother received a tree (6 girls total) to plant as a reminder of who John Stone was. 

When Brad is a little older, I plan to sit by our Cedar tree, in the glowing sunsets and pull questions to refresh memories of the grandfather he’ll never know. 

He truly was a Boy Scout through and through and left this earth better than he found it.

Love you dad!


To plant a tree you want to dig a hole twice as wide of the root ball and the depth of the root ball (not deeper). For balled/burlapped trees, remove or loosen the burlap around the tree remove as much as possible.

When the tree is place and standing straight, fill the hole making sure there is good contact between the root ball and the soil.(Stomp lose soil towards the root ball.) Water the tree thoroughly by letting the hose run on low for about 30 minutes. 

Continue to do deep, slow soaks with the tree for about a month.


  1. Oh my gosh, this is SUCH a cute idea! I LOVE this! Your dad sounds like he was amazing! Good pointers on the tree, I would have NO idea!

  2. The Memory Jar is a wonderful idea!

    Trees are one of my absolute favorite things. I can sit for hours under their shade. I often stare and wonder about the things that my favorite tree has seen, the changes it has experienced. Brad will actually get to watch that cedar tree grow and know that it honors your father...I think that is fantastic!

  3. I love this idea. What a wonderful way to remember someone and good tips on the tree planting as well. This would really help our family as my dad just past last nov. thank you for sharing this amazing story with us .

  4. I like the tree and jar ideas. You'll never forget your dad. Wonderful ideas. Not Your Ordinary Recipes
    Not Your Ordinary Agent

  5. The jar is such a great idea, as is the tree. I love it! We planted trees when each of our sons were born, and I love the idea of planting a tree when a loved one passes. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Where is the tissue! That was beautiful, made me sad because I couldn't remember everything about my Grandma. Does the jar have memories or questions? If it was my jar it would need the memories because my mind has been the first think to go. I will never forget my grandmothers homemade cake though :) My mom tries to mimic it but hasn't gotten it yet. Thanks for sharing!

    1. It just had questions to hopefully draw up the memories. I want homemade cake!

  7. This is a wonderful suggestion/idea! Thank you so much for sharing your heart. If you haven't already, you should get in touch with Becky Jane from Rise Above Your Limits. She's a vB member. She has just started a website that has a purpose of supporting the caregivers of those with Alzheimer's and she's looking for stories and other encouraging things to put on the site. I think she would love any input you have.


  8. What a sweet post and a great idea. I am going to pin it! Sorry to hear about your dad, sounds like he was a great man, and I am glad you will help his memory live on!

    Tamika @ No Time for Tea Parties

  9. So sorry for your loss. It sounds like your father was a wonderful man... and possibly a saint, living in a house full of girls who had to become teenagers (shudder) before settling into strong and wonderful women. He has left quite a legacy. And I love that six strong trees stand behind in his memory.

    This memory jar idea is wonderful! You made me think of my grandfather who passed when I was 6, who I want to share with my sons now--I remember he was like a mad scientist and he chewed his food like a rabbit and he smelled like King Edwards cigars. I would love to do something like this with my family. So much time has passed, but it is never too late. Thank you for posting this!