By Tania Willis

The loss of a loved one can be one of the most trying and emotional experiences in your lifetime as you ride the waves of grief that follow their passing.

Today, I want to offer you five things you can do to begin the process of recording and honoring the life of a loved one who has passed.

1. Grab yourself a fresh journal and a pen.

If you don’t have anything else right now to get yourself started on creating an Album of Remembrance, this is the most important thing to start with. It doesn’t have to be fancy at all—a spiral notebook will work just as well as anything.

2. Create a simple list of memory triggers.

Write your loved ones name at the top of the page. Then, jot down anything and everything that comes to mind by just using single words or short phrases. Don’t worry about sentence structure or spelling or all the nitty gritty details. Just write quickly without discounting any thoughts or ideas. These memory triggers alone, will make an amazing layout to start your album.

article image1 Mom by Tania Willis

3. Organize and regroup.

Using that list of memory triggers, you can go into more depth and get into the meat of the stories of their life by reorganizing those thoughts further by separating them into more specific groupings. For example: group personality traits into one list, vacation/life-experiences into another, comedic stories into another, and so on.

4. Use those starting points.

What you just created was a list starting point for a great multitude of memories that you can use to create layouts for your remembrance album.  Within every single word and phrase you jotted down there is a story to be told. Pick one story and tell it today. Even if you’re not ready to start the actual creating process you can still get started on the storytelling.

article image2 Big Grammy by Tania Willis

5. Try answering these questions.

If you’re still at a loss on exactly how to use those memory triggers from the exercise above to create layouts for your Album of Remembrance, consider starting by choosing one of these questions to answer…

  • What did you adore most about your loved one?
  • Was your loved one known for a special skill or a unique quirk?
  • Do you recall any poignant conversations or defining moments?
  • Did your loved one have a nickname? If so, how did they come by it?
  • What did you learn from them without them saying a word?
  • What dreams did they have?  Did you see them realize those dreams?
  • Dear (loved one), thank you for……….”