Wednesday, May 5, 1999    


Healing a hole in the heart of a family


Scrapbooking has become a way to tie our family together. I got started in it when we adopted our first daughter, Allison, now 2-1/2. I had so much fun putting together her first year album although then I didn't even know it was called "scrapbooking" or that there was a whole industry around it. Our whole family has enjoyed looking at her book and it became a discussion topic in my family. It's especially appreciated since half our family live thousands of miles away. When we get together, they get to catch up on what they missed. Now that she has a baby sister, Alli has become really interested in her own babyhood and we have spent some lovely times together looking over her book. She also understands what I'm doing when I'm working on Chanelle's book. Previous to my creation of that first book, in my family we just stuck the photos in those dangerous magnetic albums and never opened them again!

Last year, sadly, my sister's youngest child, then 14 years old, committed suicide. This was (and is) one of the most difficult things our family has ever faced. Since my sister had divorced his dad a couple of years prior, she took with her all the negatives of the thousands of photos she'd taken as her kids were growing up, but none of the pictures. She only has a couple of snapshots of her son. My next scrapbooking project is to put together a book for her of Keath. I'm hoping that it will be a source of healing for her (and for the rest of us.) Just getting this project started has been a unifying force in the family as I have asked Keath's three siblings, my sister's ex-husband and his new wife and my parents to all help me collect the photos and memories. It has been so helpful to me to have a thoughtful way to express my love for him (and for my sister!) and to remember him.

Another way scrapbooking has been so important to me is a work in progress as well. My parents will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary next year. We are planning a surprise celebration. I have to admit, I came up with the idea of the scrapbook and then cooked up the party to give the scrapbook a reason for being! This has been a uniting experience as well, since I am contacting not only family, but also friends from long ago, to get photos, stories, etc. to add to the album.

Without scrapbooking I'd just be focused on the day to day routines and my busy life as a Mom and not getting all this joy from remembering and celebrating life as a family.

Tomorrow at dMarie Daily: Memories Worth Keeping, by By C. Hammon, Plantation Key, FL

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