by Cathi Nelson

One of the greatest challenges but powerful process people face while grieving the loss of a loved one is trying to create a meaningful memoir in their honor.

Grief comes with many emotions, and you have to be prepared to be patient.  Some days you may be very sad and tearful, sometimes angry and frustrated, and other times sullen and melancholy. Fortunately, by working with photos or home movies you can begin to feel another kind of emotion: fond happiness, as you remember, relive, and celebrate your loved one’s life.

Remember, not everyone heals the same. Do not feel bad if this takes you longer than expected.  You can also hire a professional photo organizer to help…they can help you prioritize and complete your project.

Here are some tips for creating a life memoir you can cherish for generations:

  • Interview other family members or friends; ask them to share a favorite memory or story.
  • Think about the theme of the person’s life. Did they love to laugh, travel, or sports?  Find the photos that represent that one aspect of their life and build a memory around that one theme.
  • Create a scrapbook or put together a photo montage to music.
  • Find a series of photos you love and have them professionally framed to display in your home or office.
  • Ask family members to write a letter sharing a favorite story or memory and include those in a photo book.


Last of all, this can be a healing process for everyone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or input.  After all, this project is for you.  There is no right or wrong way to do this!

Cathi NelsonIn 2009, Cathi had her “light bulb” moment when she recognized that consumers were becoming increasingly overwhelmed with the exploding number of photos, media and memorabilia they were accumulating. She created Appo to support a new and emerging profession of photo managers by providing training, support and collaboration for people interested in adding photo management services to their existing business or as a new business. She is also a mom of two teens, and an avid amateur photographer and storyteller. She has a deep passion for helping people tell their family stories through their photographs.