I have been wracking my brain for the last week because I wanted to say something about the reasons we scrap. Not only the "I like to hang out with my girlfriends" and the "I love the pretty paper" reasons, but also the deep, heartfelt, life changing reasons - the ones that make us laugh out loud and the ones that bring us to tears. I had so many thoughts rambling around in my head that I couldn't get a handle on it - until I logged on to our IRW Instructor forum and found this story from an instructor in Charlotte, NC - LesliAn Orio. LesliAn has such a gift of storytelling, and her experience encompassed EXACTLY what I was trying to say but just couldn't find the words. So - thanks my friend for letting me share your story, and for reminding us all why we scrap. --Beth
On Friday morning the father of my dear friend and neighbor fell down his stairs at home. Thankfully his wife was home and they were able to get an ambulance for him within minutes. He was rushed to the hospital and they found a broken hip, broken ribs, collapsed lung and a variety of other issues. He was already recovering from a series of strokes that had left him a bit unsteady on his feet and likely what contributed to his fall.
Sunday morning, the husband of my neighbor came over and shared with us the sad news that his FIL had passed away a few hours before. He said that his wife had a request for me and would I please call her cell when I had some time to talk.
I am a fountain of emotional tears. I cry at Cottonelle commercials when the puppy falls whilst running in the yard, so I had to prepare myself to be strong for my friend and not let my tears and sadness be what she heard in my voice. Putting on a very brave voice, I called and asked what I could do for her. She asked if I would please take one of the recent photos of her dad (Carter and I had been guests at his early 80th birthday party in August) and have it blown up to be beside the urn of her father. I asked her what else I could do, as that would take me only a few minutes and her father had been such a gift of a joyous man in our lives and we wanted to do more. She hesitated and then asked if I could do 'something else' with photos, too. I told her sure and asked when the funeral was. Tuesday, 1 p.m.
So Sunday I spent several hours going through the photos I'd taken and that her 14 year old daughter had taken, and made a slew of 12x18, 11x14, 8x10 and 5x7 photos. I picked them up last night and came home and faced a blank canvas in the form of a black science fair tri-fold board Carter had picked up for me on the way home.
I went in my studio to create something to capture his life, but was blocked. Couldn't do it. Everything just looked 'wrong' and I knew she was counting on me to deliver a finished board in the morning. I laid down on our sofa with Jackson and Nick and some mindless movie they were watching and fell asleep. I woke three hours later, TV on and children off in their own beds and went back to my studio and started going through a stack of paper I have not looked at in at least a year.
At the very bottom I found a stack of the Jeneva 'My Walk' papers and it was as though my hands were no longer mine, but rather being used by someone else. I created a beautiful, balanced, coordinated presentation of photos and biblical quotes and plenty of titles with my WB. The colors of the papers went with the colors the family members in the photos were wearing and I had EXACTLY enough of each paper to accomplish what was needed, not a bit extra.
When I took it to my friend this morning, she was shaking as she hugged me and thanked me. She said it well beyond what she imagined could be done on such short notice. Her mother, a most delightful and radiant woman, reacted the same way when she saw it a few hours later.
The funeral mass was sweet and touching and the reception was a celebration of his life, not a teary affair of loss. The placed the photo board at the entrance for all to see and the vast majority had no idea I'd made it, but commented how great it was and how it truly captured his essence.
I was so honored to be asked to create that photo tribute and so glad they were pleased by it. Sometimes scrapping isn't about albums. Sometimes it is being able to take those same tools and create something that is to be viewed only in a condensed set of moments and to bring solace and peace and a smile to the lips of those who are feeling a void in their hearts. Every once in a while I get a whiff of wanting to throw in the towel and stop scrapping as my kids get older and I know their early years have been well documented.
This was a moment that further cemented for me the importance of being able to capture the essence of so many moments and to share it with others. To comfort in photos, not hugs or casseroles or running errands. It did not just help the hearts of his family to heal, but it helped me as well. It reinforced the images of his humorous self, of his giving heart and his winning smile, his 58 years of being crazy in love with his wife and the mischevious twinkle he'd get in his eye talking about his adventures in younger years.