Username Post: Scrapping on behalf of a deceased loved one        (Topic#1573569)
New Kid On the Block
Posts: 4
Joined: 04-04-12

My first post but hope you experts can offer some guidance.

So I've done scrapping for about 15 years but none in the past few years. I'm trying to do the first book for my grandson. He is just past 2 yrs old and while I have hundreds of photos, I've been afraid to tackle the scrapping.

My problem: His mommy, my daughter, died when he was 5 months old. She died of breast cancer at age 29, diagnosed when she was pregnant with him. So all the photos of the birth etc. are of her with no hair and obviously very sick, although happy as much as possible as she cuddles him.

My question: How do I make a book for him that is happy and about him, yet include photos of his mom without focusing on his mom's health too much? And the thing is, that has been preventing me from doing his book, is that, for example: His First Christmas, is also everyone else's first Christmas without his Mom...so naturally part of the 'reality' of those photos is sort of lacking joy, Or we did things to remember his mom--do I include those photos in his book? Or the photos taken of his aunts and uncles holding him and cuddling him on the day of her funeral in a beautiful sun-filled green space? They are a part of his history, and are truly beautiful images, but..

I'm trying to create a book that I think she would have created--but I'm also trying to be authentic which is how I do all my books. But I don't want him to look back on these photos and think it was all too sad and I want it to be about him.

The truth is, his first year was filled with loss. So do I not scrap it or include it? If I don't scrap it, he has big gaping holes in his first year.

Has anyone had to do something like this before and if so, please offer some suggestions. I want him to have a memory book and I want him to see the joy that was ours in having him survive, yet I want it to be real to her memory as well. She was delighted to be able to give birth to a baby with a head full of hair, even as she was bald and dieing. It was a testament to her strength and resolved to see him survive.

Thanks for any suggestions you can offer!




 
Ohio4HMom
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Ohio4HMom
In response to Nbohanan

thats a hard question but its a story that has to be told I believe.

some day he's going to want to know how strong she was for him, how everyone celebrated her

I say show them like they are, like it happened and add bright colors and happy memories, comments or sayings about her to each page to help brighten it up


 
LesleyC
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LesleyC
In response to Ohio4HMom

This brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful gesture. I agree with all of the above.

The only thing I'd add is to perhaps invite other family members and friends of your daughter to contribute photos, journaling, etc. It could be a beautiful experience for many people.

May you daughter's memory be a blessing,


 
siameseplease
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siameseplease
In response to LesleyC

I just wanted to say first of all, I'm so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine the pain of losing a child. They are still your baby, no matter how old they become, and that pain must be like no other.

I think I agree with the others. Include those photos. They are a part of his life. He may look at those pictures later in life and see the love on her face, not the lack of hair. I'd put your memories of her and the things she said about him, like how she loved his hair. Those are treasures and precious memories of his life. They're not about her..they're about how she felt about HIM. I think memories that you can give him of his mother will be precious and so meaningful to him. That's just my two cents!


 
New Kid On the Block
Posts: 4
Joined: 04-04-12
In response to siameseplease

Thank you for the replies--they definitely help! I have his first Christmas pages/photos in front of me and based on your suggestions, I'm thinking I'll do 2 double pages of him opening his presents and messy face candy cane fun stuff, and then a fifth separate page after those of a photo of his Mommy's "baby's first ornament" (1985, hallmark merry go around carousal) with a half page journal entry on how this was his mom's favorite ornament and although it wasn't her's, (her's were 1980) it was her sister's, we bought it for her to give to her sister (but she didn't understand that at the time) and then for the next 20 years, they fought over who got to hang it on the tree and whose it REALLY was...LOL--they would hide it from each other every year to make sure they got to put it on the tree so the first year she died, we hid it from her sister just like she would have done So that's the story I'll share with her son so he knows more about her and 'traditions' of who she was...


 
Ohio4HMom
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Ohio4HMom
In response to Nbohanan

  • Nbohanan Said:
Thank you for the replies--they definitely help! I have his first Christmas pages/photos in front of me and based on your suggestions, I'm thinking I'll do 2 double pages of him opening his presents and messy face candy cane fun stuff, and then a fifth separate page after those of a photo of his Mommy's "baby's first ornament" (1985, hallmark merry go around carousal) with a half page journal entry on how this was his mom's favorite ornament and although it wasn't her's, (her's were 1980) it was her sister's, we bought it for her to give to her sister (but she didn't understand that at the time) and then for the next 20 years, they fought over who got to hang it on the tree and whose it REALLY was...LOL--they would hide it from each other every year to make sure they got to put it on the tree so the first year she died, we hid it from her sister just like she would have done So that's the story I'll share with her son so he knows more about her and 'traditions' of who she was...



what a beautiful and fun memory for you to share with him!

That is the sort of thing he'll love to have someday!

So sorry for your loss! We lost my brother a few years ago too and it has been very hard for my mom, I can't imagine how hard this project must be for you too.


 
New Kid On the Block
Posts: 4
Joined: 04-04-12
In response to Nbohanan

Thanks OhioMom--I'm so glad to know others might think he'd want to read/see this someday as opposed to feeling like it's just a downer!


Oh and I just want to add--keep on scrapping, especially if you're young. I have photos of my daughter and I scrapping together back when I still did film--and honestly, it is my scrapbooks of her throughout her life that helped me make it through the hardest times.

It may seem like you have a ridiculous number of photos of loved ones, but someday maybe every little nuance of their expression can become an unexpected treasure.


Edited by Nbohanan on 04-09-12 06:55 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.


 
KatieJo
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KatieJo
In response to siameseplease

That is tough. I too am sorry for your loss, but also glad that you have a grandson.

My nephew also lost a parent when he was young (two years of age). It was his father (my BIL). A few years ago, I made my nephew a graduation album. In the collection of photos I had, I had exactly one photo of him and his parents all together. And nothing else with his dad. Although his mother is going to unfortunately look unwell in some of the photos with him, I would still scrap them. They are a part of his story.

I might also recommend that you also include a collection of photos of her when she was well (including childhood photos etc). You could do the same for his father as well (if you can get your hands on those photos also) and do a couple of pages "Mom" and "Dad" (a kind of where he came from sort of thing). That would allow you to include happier photos of her too and still have it be part of his story.

Do indeed include the photos of him with family and friends from the day of the funeral. Again, it is part of his story. He was loved by his mother and is loved by those who remain and remember her. You could indeed also include some sentiments from family and friends about his mother (if you are up to the experience of collecting them).



 
Ohio4HMom
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Ohio4HMom
In response to Nbohanan

  • Nbohanan Said:
Oh and I just want to add--keep on scrapping, especially if you're young. I have photos of my daughter and I scrapping together back when I still did film--and honestly, it is my scrapbooks of her throughout her life that helped me make it through the hardest times.

It may seem like you have a ridiculous number of photos of loved ones, but someday maybe every little nuance of their expression can become an unexpected treasure.



Amen! (((((((hugs to you))))))))) we almost our daughter in a car accident but they were able to save her - followed by the loss of my mother-in-law 4 weeks later and then my brothers diagnosis of cancer 3 months after that...



 
SherylEb
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SherylEb
In response to LesleyC

I would definitely do it, just maybe in a different album and maybe not give it to him yet.  That way maybe he can see it when he's older and when he's ready. All of life isn't happy, but it real.
My brother died from cancer when his son was 8. For a year, he saw nothing but his dad suffer. My brother spent the last six months paralyzed with nothing working but one arm, and staying in a rehab center.
I made my nephew a scrapbook of his dad. I didnt do it for about 7 years though. My mother had an envelope of all his childhood memorabilia  and several articles about him as an adult. I put it all in an album along with a family tree. My nephew didn't really get to know aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc on his dads side of the family, so I thought it was important to document it all for him. We are close still to my sister in law and nephew, it's just not her family, so some of that just gets forgotten over time. 
My nephew loved seeing his dads old report cards, old sport photos, birth announcements, etc. My father was in Korea when my brother was born, so there was lots of old pics. He just loved getting to know that part of his dad. Even when we are alive, I think there's a lot we forget to share about our own childhood.
I included a birth announcement of my nephew and photos of him with his father as a baby and toddler. He looked a lot like his dad did when he was young. At the very end, I had a photo of my brother in his football uniform and a photo of my nephew in his football uniform. They looked just alike! The amazing part was they played the same position and even had the same jersey number. It was spooky.
My nephew took that page out of the book and hung it on his wall. 
My sister in law said he gets the book out and looks at all the time. He still does and he is now 21.  She said his favorite parts are the photos of him and his dad together. A lot of them were during the time my brother had cancer, riding in the wheelchair together, laying in the hospital bed together. She said he just loves that they were together, even though the circumstances weren't the best. My sister in law used to tell him how happy he made his dad, even when he was sick. So he just looks at it from that perspective. 
The album is the best thing I ever did.  My mother gave it to him when he was 15. I wouldn't take any sad parts out of it. Life is sad sometimes, it just makes us appreciate the good parts that much more. 


 
New Kid On the Block
Posts: 4
Joined: 04-04-12
In response to SherylEb

Thank you, Shery
I was thinking about doing something similar with some of her notes, cards, and photos. I obviously don't know what to expect him to want to see someday. His father is wonderful, but not someone to save such things and I wonder if he won't have questions at some point later in life about who his Mommy really was, etc.
Thank you for your suggestion!


 
CrimsonMama
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In response to Nbohanan

Wow, this must be very sad and hard for you to do. Still, she is his mom and I am sure those photos that are tough to look at, you can see how much she loves him.

I would do a book for him about her starting at the beginning of HER life. Baby photos of her, school, happy times, and end with that, his first Christmas. I believe, he will cherish it all.

I just put my mom in a nursing home. I am in the process of planning sraping of her and Dad (who is deceased). Even that is a little hard to do knowing that at 85, I might not have her much longer.


 
Henri Jean
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Henri Jean
In response to CrimsonMama

I love the CrimsonMamas idea of doing a book about her from childhood all the way through his birth, and maybe even his first Christmas. Then he can look at that when he wants to think about her or feel close to her. And put in all the stories about her becasue they will mean a lot to him some day.

THen maybe another book from when he was born with some pictures of her and maybe a few stories, but more about him. Then he will have one of her whole life to treasure and it will show how much she loved him.


 
pugs223
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pugs223
In response to Henri Jean

Reading this gave me the goosebumps. I am so sorry for your loss and think that your making a scrapbook for him is a beautiful tribute to your daughter.

The thing that keeps going through my mind is he is only going to know his mom through you and other loved ones.

As someone else mentioned, if you are up to the experience, have other family members write down memories of your daughter that you can include.

Another thought I had is as you scrapbook his life (including how other family doted on him and held him at the funeral), put in those stories of her life. Just like the Christmas ornament story and how it was hid on his first Christmas, if a picture of him reminds you of a story of her, journal it.

Like if he's playing in the sand and it reminds you of a story of how she loved bulding sandcastles, put it in there.

He will cherish this book when he gets older and wonders about his mom.


Edited by pugs223 on 04-10-12 12:12 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.


 
Gelidy Gelato
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Gelidy Gelato
In response to pugs223

You might want to experiment with adjusting the color of the photos. They make look better in Black & White or sepia. Or even a color tint that matches the page.


 
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