Celebrating Life

Have you noticed a growing trend in funerals these days? Many of them are being referred to as “Celebrations of Life.” For the loved ones, who are left behind to grieve the unspeakable loss, remembering the good times shared with the deceased is often more comforting than focusing on death.

My beloved grandmother passed away last year. However, hers was a life well lived and should continue to be celebrated, which is why I have started crafting a scrapbook dedicated to memorable milestones during her earthly journey. I plan to give the book to my daughter and share it with the other great grandkids in order for my grandmother’s spirit to remain alive and well.

Creating a scrapbook for an elderly person is not an easy task. Sorting through the photos alone can take weeks, if not months to complete. I have learned the hard way that the key to surviving such an overwhelming task is to be as organized as possible. Start by investing in an accordion file. Not only can you use it to file photos in chronological order, but you can also place important documents (e.g. copies of birth certificates) and other memorabilia in it as well.

If you don’t know the exact dates on certain photos, enlist help from other family members. Ask your grandmother’s siblings if they remember when a particular photo was taken. It helps to have a written index of photos by category, but it’s not the end of the world if you have to guess at a few, provided you keep similar pictures together.

In regards to mementos that you want to add to the scrapbook, focus exclusively on items that will enhance your layouts. You don’t have to scrap every little thing your grandma owned; rather, choose a few items that can serve as the focal point of a certain layout. For example, you might happen upon an old wedding invitation that can be used in conjunction with wedding photos for a celebratory layout. Likewise, pictures taken of your grandma standing in front of Mount Rushmore or Old Faithful would make great additions to a vacation page. Just remember the goal of your scrapbook should be to evoke happy memories, so do the best you can with what you have.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.