When my brother Kevin passed away unexpectedly in 2014 at age 25, my family was devastated. Even more than a year later, it’s still hard to believe that he’s not just going to walk through the door one day with his gruffy beard and a big hug for anybody in his path.
One of the only bright spots in the days after we heard the news was the chance we had to share our memories of Kevin with each other. I had made a Creative Memories album with many of Kevin’s photos and stories from birth to age 12 when I was a relatively young Creative Memories consultant, and the day after he died I took the album to my parents’ house. This book brought both smiles and tears to the literally hundreds of visitors, friends, and funeral attendees who came to pay their respects and reminisce with our family.
- There’s that dangerously mobile little boy who practically lived in a tiger costume until he started kindergarten . . .
- There are the best buddies in Boy Scout uniforms again and again . . .
- There’s the little essay he wrote about how holding his new baby brother was the happiest experience of his life . . .
I wished I had kept his book current, but more than that I was happy I’d taken the time to put this all together well before we “needed” it, and I was so relieved that I didn’t have to try to hunt down an entire lifetime of photos and stories in the days between his death and his funeral. This album isn’t anything fancy–it’s fairly simple and unadorned–but it’s a celebration of a wonderful person, and that’s what’s important.
My family is glad to have some of our best “Kevin” memories documented in something tangible that we can go back to whenever we’re missing him. Even though some would say there are there are “easier” options available for photo sharing, nothing replaces an album for me.