Friday, March 5, 2010

Memorial tribute board

My mother-in-law, Helen, died last Monday morning after a long bout with Alzheimer's disease and heart problems. For the wake and funeral, I put together three tribute boards of layouts, photos, letters and clippings. I created seven new layouts for the boards and used two that I had done previously. My husband, his seven(!) brothers, and other family members and friends were very appreciative and complimentary, which made me feel good. It was an honor to be able to do this last thing for her.

This is my favorite of the three boards. All the layouts are new:

For six of the new layouts, I used a Pink Paislee "Amber Road" kit from ScrapbookDeals4U. Loved the green, blues and reds with copies of black and white heritage photos.

This one includes photos of Helen's grandparents:

Her parents during their courtship and on their wedding day:

Helen's high school and junior college graduation photos (she graduated at the top of her class in each case -- she was extremely intelligent)

She moved to Chicago at age 20 to study at the University of Chicago, earning a master's degree in history. After graduation, she worked as secretary to the University's president. She also met her husband, Brent (shown in this photo, taken at the popular Blackhawk Restaurant). A native of Canada, he was a handsome young math professor at the university. They were married in 1948 but divorced 10 years later.

These photos were taken on her wedding day; her sister, Jean, and her brother, Jack, who were the couple's attendants; and her parents.

Helen moved with her new husband to Canada, and the first of her eight sons was born the following year.

Unfortunately, Brent proved to have problems with alcohol and gambling. They were living in Ohio when Helen made the decision (courageous in the late '50s) that for the good of her sons, she needed to divorce her husband. She came back to her home area and obtained a job as an English teacher at the same school where she had been her class's valedictorian.

For this layout, I used Bo Bunny's "Flutter Butter", also from a SD4U kit. This one appeared on a board with another layout (see below) and several letters and clippings commending her as an inspiration to her students

This layout was one that I created in the summer of 2008. I had been driving Helen to a monthly lunch date with three former teaching colleagues; the four had remained very close friends. The Alzheimers was taking its toll, and I knew that this would most likely be her last lunch with the ladies (I was correct) and I wanted to commemorate their friendship. The papers are from Bo Bunny:

This one centered a board and was surrounded with family photos, a poem written by a granddaughter and newspaper clippings. The papers and flowers were from a kit I won last fall from A Million Memories. I loved this Washington Irving quote -- it reminded me of Helen and her life

For me, the project (the seven new layouts were all completed within a two day period) were my way of dealing with the loss and of paying tribute to one strong and amazing woman. After the service Thursday, I removed the layouts and put them into an album for my husband; I will also add the letters and some of the photos from her old picture books for him.

On a happier note: my youngest daughter's wedding is in only five weeks! Hoping for some time this weekend to finish some do-it-ourselves projects for the wedding and reception.

Thanks for looking; have a great weekend!


Trish said...

Barb, I am utterly speechless. This is beyond words and an incredible tribute. THANK YOU for sharing it!!

Julie said...

barb everything you have done is just beautiful!!!

don't forget to link to my blog for your rak!

BabyBokChoy said...

Barb, this is such an amazing display for tribute, truly the layouts are stunning and gorgeous but the sentiments behind them are even more meaningful! thanks for sharing!!!

twinkles11 said...

absolutely LOVE your layouts the heritage rocks here. they will truly be treasured.

Angela L. said...

Barb........ I am SO sorry to hear about the loss of your Mother-in-law! Your tribute is SO touching and beautiful... What a way to remember her with your gorgeous layouts!

just jennifer said...

what a lovely way to remember your MIL. you did a fabulous job!

Nathalie said...

Those are gorgeous pages Barb! You were right in choosing that kit for the B&W vintage photos! They all look fabulous!

Melanie Stanczyk said...

I am so sorry to hear about your MIL. Your boards are gorgeous, what a beautiful tribute to her.

Leah Crowe said...

What a breathtakingly beautiful tribute to Helen... oh my Barb, just lovely as can be. {{big hugs}} to you and your family.

Diana said...

I am sorry for your loss, tribute boards are so hard. You did an amazing job! Those are absolutely beautiful!

lisaplus5 said...

wow! those photos blow me away. i am so sorry for your loss, but what a great way to remember and what a treasure those photographs are. many blessings.