Project 10 of 52: Aunt Martha Memorial Books

This is a project that is near and dear to my heart. I'm sure I won't be able to write about it without shedding a few tears! And I made four of these albums--one for my uncle who was married to her (who got the originals of everything in his album, when originals were available), one for my household, one for my cousin (who lives with another uncle), and one for a 3rd uncle (my mom is the youngest of 7 kids so I have a big family!).

As you know, I lost my aunt back in February. Several of my projects have surrounded here. It's a release for me, and a way for me to grieve her loss--I've never been dealt such a punch in the gut before, never lost someone so intertwined in my adult life. I lost my beloved grandmother when I was 19, but this is different somehow, I think because I knew my aunt as an adult. I didn't just have a child-adult relationship with her.

This has been a rough 3 months (she's been gone 3 months today as of this writing, and nearly 4 months when this posts) and I wanted to record the words that were written about her, to have a place where I could look back one day on the wonderful things that people thought about her. She was an amazing lady.

I set out Project Life cards at the funeral for people to jot down notes on. I printed out the photos we had shown in the slide show during her funeral and interspersed them through the pages with the cards. I also went onto her Facebook to print out all the wonderful things people had posted on her page.

I added a few pages of photos that are more personal to the family--I included photos of the memorial service, a couple of the lockets I had made, photos of my aunt, and a photo of her final resting place. (My aunt's ashes are not yet interred, but I have a photo of where she will be. I plan to update my family's book with photos of her final resting place and plaque once that is all in place, but it is a long process getting everything in order.)

I included the sweet things people had said on her page the mortuary put up, as well as copies of the visitor log (guest book sounds so inappropriate...) from the funeral. I ended the book with a copy of her obituary from the newspaper.

It was a long process, mostly because of the amount of scanning and gathering and Photoshopping I did. I used Paint Shop Pro by Corel to make sure the screenshots would print to fit properly on an 8.5x11" sheet of paper, as well as to clean things up, fill in blank spaces and have 2 columns of Facebook messages on one page. My aunt was extremely active in the church and had a lot of friends--over 350 people attended her memorial--so I had a lot of wonderful messages to contain in the binder.

While I consider this memorial book completed, I don't feel like I'm quite done with my aunt. I'm a journaler by nature and I sense a 2nd volume in the works. I have ideas floating around my mind about what to include, including some journaling. I do know that if that second book is completed, I won't be sharing it with anyone. The ideas I have for it are very personal, and would include journaling about her last days on earth, and I just don't feel that I need to share that publicly.

Has anyone else done something similar after losing a loved one? Did it help you through the grieving process?


  1. Your project is one of the most wonderful things you have ever made, Dawn. It touches my heart that you love my sister as much as I do. The memories you gathered for the binders are perfect, and to make so many! I love you so much.



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