Memory Books for Bereavement

Marcelina Hardy, MSEd, BCC
Vintage Photos

Memory books are the perfect way to remember a loved one who has died since they can hold some of the most precious photos, memories and life stories of that special person. Whether you want to make one for yourself or give one to a friend who is grieving, you will be delighted at the powerful effects it can have on survivors.

Choosing a Memory Book

The first step in creating a memory book is to decide what type of book you want to capture the memories. Most people use either use a photo album or scrapbook, so what's the difference?

Photo Album: Photo albums have several different ways to lay them out. You can put the photos in order from the earliest to the oldest one or you can start with the oldest photos so that the person viewing it can go from the present to past through the deceased's life. Some individuals will write a memory on the back of the photos or on a small sticker to place on the front of the picture.

Scrapbook: For this type of memory book, you place pictures on a blank cardstock and can add embellishments to highlight the photos. Many people also journal on the page by writing about the feelings they have when looking at the photos or about the stories behind them.

Places to Purchase Memory Books

Creative Memories has a large selection of photo albums and scrapbooks you can choose from. You can also find all the supplies you need to create beautiful scrapbook pages.

Shutterfly allows you to upload all of your photos to the website and create either a photo album or a scrapbook-type of memory book. If you want to do a photo album with more than one picture on each page, it's no problem: they allow you to create collages or place photos on each page just about any way you want.

Wal-Mart has photo products at a budget-friendly price. You can either purchase the photo album or scrapbook and create it on your own or you can design one online and have Wal-Mart print and ship it to you.

Journal Ideas for Your Book

Poems and Quotes

If you decide to make a full scrapbook or simply want to include sayings on your photos, you can find a wealth of bereavement poems and quotes online. You can either use the ones you find and include the author or you can use them for inspiration to write your own.

Feelings and Thoughts

Journaling about your feelings and thoughts is a great way to cope with grief. As you write down the special moments you have shared with the deceased, you will begin the process of healing. This process can be painful but, remember, you may not have your loved one physically with you but you will always have treasured memories.

Life Stories

Collecting life stories about the deceased person can be difficult, especially if you are a friend of the survivor. The easiest way to do this is the most comforting way--spend time with the grieving person and just listen. As time goes on, you are likely to hear him or her start to reflect on their experiences they had with the deceased. You can also contact other family members, explain that you are creating a memory book for your friend, and ask them to share stories that you can highlight about the deceased most memorable events.

Pass on the Gift of Family History

Not only will creating a memory book help you with the healing process for yourself or a friend, it will also be a precious collection of family history. This book can be shared with family members who, while they may have not been fortunate enough to meet the deceased, will at least be able to continue his or her life stories for many generations.

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Memory Books for Bereavement