His Memory Lives On
My husband Steve died 4 1/2 years ago. At the time he died we had been married for 18 years. His death devastated me both emotionally and spiritually. He and I had truly believed that we would grow old and die together and, for the first time in my life, I faced my own mortality.
I had been introduced to scrapbooking in 1993 by way of a home party. It was fun to learn something new but I thought I had all the time in the world to get my pictures organized and placed into albums. Now, with Steve gone, I realized that I didn't have all the time in the world.
I went shopping with a friend for a few basic scrapbooking supplies and she helped me do my first page which turned out "just ok". I sat down on my own to start organizing my pictures and ran up against a brick wall the moment I saw the first picture of my husband and daughter together. The memories were too much for me to bear and I put the pictures away once again.
My recovery came in small steps. First, I met and married a wonderful man who didn't tell me to put away my memories of Steve but instead invited me to share them with him. Second, my daughter got married to a wonderful man and they chose to be married on her Dad's birthday as a way of honoring and remembering him. The ceremony was joyous and beautiful and though I missed Steve very much, I knew that he was with us. Third, and this was the big break through for me, my daughter and her husband announced last Spring that they were expecting their first child.
My future was being held in front of me and suddenly I realized that I had to do all that I could to perserve my past for my future's sake. I got out my pictures and started to work. I first had to sort through 20 years worth of photos that had been taken out of magnetic albums and tossed into shoe boxes without any sort of dating or journalling. I decided the easiest route was to group the photos by events such as holidays, school days, visiting with relatives, etc. I was able to journal some of the early pictures of my daughter's first years but after that I resorted to the events categories.
Now I was ready to start putting my pictures into scrapbooks. I hadn't had much experience with computers and my new husband sat me down one day and showed me how to do a search for scrapbook related materials. One of the first sites I found was dMarie! I loved the Inspirations section and poured for hours through the poems looking for just the right ones to go with my pictures and to help tell my stories.
My progress at the time was still stop and go because I would run across a particular picture of Jennifer and her Dad and burst into tears and not be able to continue with my work that day. At about this time I asked Jennifer whether she wanted me to stop her first book with her Dad's death or did she want me to just continue on. She felt that she wanted the book to end with his death and the next book start with her life "after Dad" so to speak. Now I was faced with how to pay tribute to a man that I had loved for 18 years and who had enriched my life with love, joy and laughter. I couldn't find the words to say what I felt at dmarie, so I sat down and wrote my own.
My granddaughter Kaitlyn came along before I could finish Jenn's first book so it has been set aside so that I could get started on Kaitlyn's book. I did find the words to use to dedicate Jenn's book to her Dad and they go like this:
Memory Book: For Steve
Smiling through my tears;
I travel through our years.
The laughs, the joy, the fun,
It seemed our life had just begun.
The pictures are faded, but my mind is still clear,
Turning another page, my heart knows you are near.
I know you're watching over us and wishing us well.
Looking from above, can you see? Can you tell?
Our little girl - can you believe how much she's grown?
She's a lovely woman now with a family of her own!
I go back to Jenn's book every now and then and add a page or two and I'm slowly making progress towards reaching that end page where this dedication will appear. In the meantime, I continue to surf the internet looking for new ideas and supplies to help me create a lasting legacy for Kaitlyn and her future.
Another benefit of my discovery of scrapbooking was that I've made friends who share the same interests as me. I've had a few good friends in my life but am basically a shy person so making new friends was always hard for me. Through my "surfing" I've developed some wonderful relationships with Cyber friends from all over the world! I'm a regular attendee at chat rooms on several sites and belong to several scrapbooking lists where we exchange information, share ideas or just give other each some words of comfort when we're having a bad day.
Perserving my memories through scrapbooking has helped me prepare for my future and has given me the opportunity to meet some wonderful, caring people. And I still always go back to dMarie when I need just the right words, some ideas for a layout or just want to visit an old friend!
Tomorrow at dMarie Daily: Scrapping for the Soul, by Deann L.