The Life Celebration Re-Do

We’ve heard of wedding re-dos, but what about life celebration re-dos? When it’s the anniversary or the birthday of a loved one who has transitioned from this life, I find myself wanting to do… something… to celebrate their life by honoring them in my thoughts and consciousness. I find myself wanting to participate in making the pictures of the past a present (i.e., gift) of today.

Sure, I can light a candle and say a prayer. I can meditate on that person. But as each year passes, it’s harder to remember the sound of their voice and the expressions on their face. I want to honor the things that made that person love life… and celebrate that. Memories fade over time and it doesn’t matter how much Ginkgo Biloba I take. I am compelled to do something special to revitalize the life experiences we shared, sometimes to heal a memory, sometimes to share my accomplishments, to share a joke, or what’s in my heart.

By now you may think I’m a little off, but remember, I’m a recent graduate of a Master’s program in Spiritual Psychology – so, I started talking to them. Yes. For example, I took a photo of my father and put it on a Shutterfly mug and shared a heartfelt dialogue with him over a cup of coffee because coffee is what he loved. Then I took his photo, placed it on a bag of his favorite coffee and sent it to my sister in his honor. Of course, she likes coffee, too.

Sometimes, remembering is a private experience. And sometimes it’s nice to share it with those who knew him. I’ve gone to dinner with older male friends who knew my dad and brought his photo with me. My dad also loved bagels with his coffee, so next year I can create a book about him coming over for Sunday brunch and share it with the grandchild he never knew. He also loved the Detroit Tigers. So perhaps I’ll go to a game on his birthday and bring my camera with me to create a Shutterfly tribute photo book in his honor.

Bringing his energy into the present and recalling the smile on his face through the power of a photograph on the anniversary of his departure from this world becomes a celebration of his life, a beautiful way for me to reconnect. And creating a photo book or card in his honor is an act of participation and a meaningful soul to soul connection that enlightens me.

By Author-Brand Strategist & Tribute Expert Lynn Isenberg, “The Funeral Planner” trilogy book series and digital series featuring Joss Stone, and founder of

The Tribute Network announces the first annual online Tribute Video Festival commencing June 1 – December 1, 2011. Visit to honor significant people and pets in our lives by sharing a short tribute video about a person or pet, alive or in spirit, who has made a contribution to your life. Learn more on May 8th when the Tribute Video Festival’s Hollywood Jury reveals more on the “Jackson Horn” reunion show on most Fox Network affiliates across the country. The Tribute Video Festival PSA is brought to you by the Wilbert Foundation, a non-profit organization providing grants and resources to help children deal with trauma and grief.

Lynn’s books and digital videos:

The Funeral Planner
The Funeral Planner Goes To Washington
The Funeral Planner Digital Series
Grief Tributes
Grief Wellness


  1. BarbaraJ says

    I can identify with your experience. I am an only adult child of my mother and father. I loss my dad and I was so lost for such a long time without him. I have a triibute book I made for him before he died. He would look and it so often and now I look at it and see what he loved in this book. Thank you for such a sweet article.

  2. says

    Your article comes at a unique time of year. My mother passed away the Wednesday before Mother’s Day. I would like to honor her in some way as well as my father who passed way when I was 9. Instead of an overwhelming scanning photo book project some as simple as a mug or magnet would be a great start.

  3. Joey says

    What a profound article. When you wrote how you might go to a Detroit Tigers game on his birthday…that made me smile. Its the simple gestures to know that our loved ones are never far from our thoughts and minds. I really like the idea of a mug or a magnet. When my uncle passed away 2 years ago, i made my aunt a photobook which brings her much happiness. i have a photo of my uncle on my desk. My grandmas have been gone 13 years but i still miss them every day and can now see similarities in my dad as he is getting older. I think getting a photo mug of my grandma for my mom would be something special. Thanks for these wonderful ideas.

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