The Gift Of Life Relived

by Kristin S Posted on September 30, 2009

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A few years ago, I made a photo book for my 93 year old grandfather celebrating his life.  I searched through boxes, made phone calls to relatives to find photos and spent days scanning in the pictures.  I gathered a lifetime’s worth of memories which I gave to him “just because”.  Many times after I gave him his photo book, he would mention it in some way.  “Did you know that hockey picture is from around 1931?” or “Did you know I received that suit coat from your mom for Christmas in the early 70s?”

My grandfather died last week at the age of 95. The photo book I made for him served as a wonderful remembrance of his life which people enjoyed throughout the services.  You could tell by looking at the book that it was well loved and viewed many, many times.  You could feel my grandfather’s presence on each page and I was very pleased that he got to enjoy his memories during his life…the same memories we were also enjoying as we celebrated the life he lived.

Many people asked for a copy of the photo book during the services and unlike a one-of-a-kind scrapbook, I was able to share the photo book with them through Shutterfly so that they could have a copy of the book as well.

So celebrate memories old and new and enjoy them with those you love.  They will appreciate it, I know my grandfather did.

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  1. Joanna T Says:

    This is a great article Kristin and such a great way to remember your grandfather. I’m glad he saw the book you made him before he passed – I am so sorry for his loss. He sounds like such an amazing man. I agree with what you said to celebrate old and new memories – we just never know when we’ll lose loved ones.
    Thanks for sharing your article. I’ll have to look for your grandfathers book.
    Shutterfly Gallery Guru

  2. Jennifer Says:

    This is a great article.

  3. AnnAbbott Says:

    Oh, I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your grandfather. I think this is one of the reasons I make photo books. You gave your grandfather a lifetime of memories that made him so happy and proud. In addition, as others came to remember your grandfather this book served another purpose, showing others that life well lived. I feel that it was an incredible proud and humble moment for you. How great it is that all the work put into a book would bring smiles to people that you never thought would see it. Bravo in a wonderful heartfelt job done for your grandfather.

    Ann Abbott
    Shutterfly Gallery Guru

  4. Tammy M. Says:

    Kristin so sorry about your loss. So true with sharing memories while we have the time to celebrate old and new memories and no better way to do that than with a photo book. Thanks for a great article and giving us the reminder to make that special book for our loved ones.
    Shutterfly Gallery Guru

  5. Margaret Says:

    Thank you for the great article – Grampa would be proud!

  6. Liz Says:

    Kristin It was such a tribute to grandpa and all the love we had for him. “TERRIFIC’ to quote the man of the hour himself.
    It is such a reminder to all say what you feel for even though we had grandpa for 95 years it is never long enough to spend time with the people you love.

  7. Eileen Brown Says:

    What a wonderful story I can only hope our Grandkids will have similiar memories. I remember when he and your Grandmother would be driving you to U MASS!!! Our sympathy in your loss

  8. Barbara Says:

    What a lovely book and lovely man. I’m sorry to hear about your grandfather’s passing but you should feel terrific knowing that he was able to relive his memories with loving people around him as he flipped through the pages of his life. Thanks so much for writing this article Kristin.

  9. Sandra Says:

    We are trying to start this process for our older and/or dying congregants. We want to help them put together a memory book they can share with their families – reproduce what you did for your grandfather for folks who might not be able to do it with their family members. Thank you for writing about it.

  10. Barbara Jansa Says:


    I’m so proud of you and we have not even met. I also made a book for my Mom and Dad for their 64th wedding anniversary of their favorite memories using photos of the olden days and also their family and friends. My daddy was in heart failure and he would look at the book for hours. Many times he forgot he had seen it and would say, Oh when did you do this book. He is gone now and I love the times we were together. He and mom moved in with us about 5 years ago. I was so lucky to be able to take care of my daddy until he died. Mom is still here and I just finished a cook book honoring my mother and my husbands mothers favorite recipies from the past. After looking at your book, I am ready to share the one I did for my mom and dad. Thank you for all the time and the memories you put into the lovely book.

  11. Lisa McCully Says:

    Wonderful words and article Kristin. Your grandfather was a loved man, it comes thru your words. I can only imagine the comfort his book brought everyone during a difficult time. I’ve always felt pictures to be a warm blanket and I love sitting with them comforting me. These photobooks are more than trendy things they are packed full of what makes us… They are the perfect way to share wonderful memories old and new. I’m so happy for you and your family that you had a book of memories to wrap everyone in comfort with and I pray that it continues to do so.

more about Kristin S

I started my first photo book when I was pregnant with my third child... the pictures were getting overwhelming and my disorganization would wake me up at night! My mother is a photographer and her pictures are outstanding... I needed to be able to display them appropriately but was not into scrapbooking. I worked my way back in time creating "yearly review" books, birthday books and holiday books all the way back to 2001 (the year my first was born!). I am up to date and the envy of all my friends... all thanks to shutterfly's 8X8 photo books (and mom's pictures of course!)... they were truly life changing and I believe I have saved myself a few wrinkly worry lines! :)

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