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Memory Book Tips

Early in grief, there are those who throw themselves into photos and memories, and there are others who choose to wait...sometimes months or years (and for a few, they never return to photos and mementos).

This book can be a place for you to keep the items you never want to forget. 

Let me clarify; you will never forget your person, but you may, one day, forget to remember some of the things that made them who they were. You may forget their habit of leaving the kitchen cupboards open, or how they always ended their phone calls with, 'tootle loo, love you!'

Making this book may be incredibly painful. It may be incredible cathartic. Both are ok. 

First, if you do not feel ready to work on this book now, here is one thing you can do now that may help you whenever you're ready:

  • Craft a list of the little things. A particular piece of clothing they wore, their favorite dessert, their coffee order, the joke they always retold. No detail is too small or insignificant, even if you think you couldn't possibly ever forge it. 

When you feel ready to work on a memory book, here are some other ideas of what you might want to include besides pictures:

  • Non-picture mementos. Tickets, notes or cards they wrote to you or others (or anything that has their handwriting), book jackets or CD inserts (I know...probably not many of those floating around anymore). Print out text exchanges or emails. If you can, photograph or scan the irreplaceable items so you have back up. Unrelated to the book, but you can use apps to back up text threads and voicemails (highly recommend doing this!).

  • Memories from other people. Invite friends, family members, colleagues or neighbors to share a memory or story. You can print them out or ask for handwritten letters to adhere to the book. Encourage others to share what comes to mind. The story doesn't have to a big one. Actually, sometimes the small stories and anecdotes are the best. Ask these same people to send pictures if they have them. 

  • LettersIt can be unbearably daunting to think of the future without a loved one, particularly on meaningful days: their birthday, anniversaries or particular holidays. Writing a letter to your person and keeping it here or somewhere else in a collection can help foster a sense connection. Tell them what you miss, what your life has been up to, or the questions you have always wanted to ask. 

  • Make it for someone else. If you have children in your life (your own or relatives of the deceased), consider putting the book together for them. A way for them to both remember or get to know a beloved family member.