A Practical Form of Grief Therapy
About My Keepsake Books
My Keepsake Books are the most important service I provide.
Whilst funeral photography is important, Keepsake Books are a practical form of grief therapy.
Keepsake Books allow families to grieve beyond the day of the funeral since it gives them practical things to do. And in doing so, it allows families to reflect on their relationship with the deceased and just as importantly, allows them to honour the deceased.
What’s in a Keepsake Book?
Eulogies and Tributes
In any language and length (usually a double spread).
Images from the funeral
A page can have up to 16 images but I prefer fewer (less is more).
Photos from their life
This makes it easy to share important family photos with your siblings.
A Keepsake Book is an integral part of my service as it is a memento, it can be part of the healing process, it lets family and friends overseas see the funeral and it is rich in its imagery.
Keepsake Books are not restricted to photos and can include eulogies, poems, family trees, favourite songs and photos of the loved one during their life.
Keepsake Books are normally 12″ x 12″ but they can be smaller if you prefer.
Families can order additional copies of their Keepsake Book. One family ordered fourteen copies of their Keepsake Book to give to each great-grand child so they could remember their great-grandmother.
Keepsake Books and grief therapy
Selecting images for the Keepsake Book gives a bereaving family a purpose.
Choosing images from your loved one’s past and deciding which eulogies and tributes will go into the Keepsake Book are all part of being actively involved in the Keepsake Book’s design and this activity can be very healing.
It really is a practical form of grief therapy because it allows you to mull over the funeral.
When overseas I met a fellow funeral photographer and was shocked to find out they didn’t involve the family in the Keepsake Book’s design. Somehow, that seemed wrong to me, that denial of grief therapy.
So often the actual day of the funeral goes by in a whirl and there is no time for reflection.
One woman said she had only just got around to looking at the keepsake book months after the funeral because she hadn’t felt strong enough to look at it. She said it was wonderful to see what had actually gone on during the actual service and wake and how precious the book was for her.
Bringing families together
One family member told me their Keepsake Book had helped heal the rift between the extended family; the simple process of having the two families in the one book had an impact and began the slow process of encouraging communication. All the family had taken ownership of the Keepsake Book and, in doing so, had made it part of their healing process.
What can a Keepsake Book contain?
Once a widow asked to if she could include an image of her husband and friends a year before he died. I welcomed her suggestion as I want families to understand it is their keepsake book.
A widow wanted the recipe her husband loved cooking for his son.
A widower wanted his wife’s favourite poem.
One family had set up an online tribute gallery so I copied all the tributes so there would be a permanent record.
You can include whatever you want.
If there is a photo of your loved one from their youth, or a place they loved visiting, all these can be included and add to the Keepsake Book’s rich texture.
Keepsake Book themes
Funerals have so many roles. They can be about supporting the widower or consoling the widow or they can be about reuniting families or preserving memories. Sometimes they are about the formal transfer of responsibility from the dead father to the eldest son. Sometimes funerals are nothing but bewilderment especially when the deceased is young. Sometimes funerals are about celebrating a long lived live. Funerals can also be about a widow honouring her husband or they can be about a community wanting to pay its respects. Sometimes they are about expressing communal sorrow.
Just as no two funerals are alike, each Keepsake Book I design is unique. It will have themes and sub-themes. For example, the main theme maybe about siblings in their mid-forties supporting each other whilst a sub-theme may be their children being concerned for their parents.
My Keepsake Books will reflect the funeral’s theme. After photographing and then enhancing the images, themes emerge which I then use to guide the selection of images. This ensures the narrative of the Keepsake Book flows without any discordant elements.