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source: Marcin Wichary

Creating Legacy Books

Life Your Way readers ask one of the most common questions when we talk about decluttering and organizing is how to organize photos. Over the next three weeks, we’ll be talking about all things photo-related with a special series from the Association of Personal Photo Organizers! Today’s topic is creating legacy books.

Cathi Nelson writes the following: Creating Legacy Books

Creating Legacy Books
source: Marcin Wichary

Today I had my third meeting with a client who lost her husband to a heart attack five years ago. Six months later, her only son was killed in an automobile accident. He was 25, newly engaged, and poised to begin his life.

As we work together, my goal is to help her create a book that celebrates both of their lives.

I love to listen to the stories and look at the photos of two people I will never meet. Yet they have come to life for me.

Baby photos of a smiling red-haired boy, wedding photos of a couple in love, high school photos of a boy not yet a man, each one such a treasure.

We are asking family and friends to share a memory that we can add to the album, and she is excited to do this during this Holiday Season. Though she has lost much, she tries to find joy in the little things of life, like a friend who mailed her fuzzy socks out of the blue.

Here is a sample of the letter we are emailing neighbors, family, and friends. She smiles when she thinks of the stories they will share, and I know this photo album will be a small part of the healing process.

Dear _________:

I am working with a professional photo organizer to create a photo album that celebrates Bill and Larry’s lives. The goal of the album is to capture the essence of Bill and Larry and a saying that resonated with me was, “They Both Lived Large Lives”. They each had passion and exuberance and I would like to capture those memories in the album I am creating.

This is where you come in, would you be willing to share some thoughts or memories in writing that I can include in the book. This is optional and I don’t want you to feel any pressure or obligation. There are no criteria for length or topic but rather this is an opportunity for you to share and reflect on the impact Bill and Larry made on your life.

Some examples others have written about when completing a similar exercise include: A favorite memory, What I loved most, Funniest Story or I remember when.

Slowly but surely, over the weeks, the letters have come in along with memories and thoughts that hadn’t been shared in a long time.

If you have lost a loved one, this exercise may be helpful for you and others.

Yet this isn’t just a way to honor those who have passed away. You can help a senior by creating a book like this as a birthday gift or anniversary. And if you have someone in a nursing home, a book like this at their bedside reminds their caretakers that this is a person who lived, laughed, and loved.

How do you use photos to create a legacy?

Click here for all of the posts in this series.

Cathi Nelson is the founder of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers, owner of her own business PhotoSimplifed, a mom of teens, and an avid storyteller and photographer.