This is the first post in a series on creating memorial tributes. Pet memorials usually fall into 3 main categories:
Hand crafted items and tributes;
Professionally crafted items*; and
Handcrafted memorials can provide a lasting sense of fulfillment. You purposefully created the memorial. It is a personal connection between you and your pet. For many creative people this is a deeply rewarding outlet for their grief. A specific memorial item or dedicated location you can visit helps gather all your emotions and thoughts together into a positive place to remember your pet and share beautiful memories with others.
Storytelling is a traditional part of the bereavement process and can be very healing. A written tribute can be a wonderful way to express emotions. One of my Twitter followers created a poetry blog as a way to express her feelings. She generously allowed me to highlight her poem about The Rainbow Bridge.
Some additional suggestions include writing letters to and from your pet expressing your thoughts and emotions, have each person involved write a short story of their favorite memories and gather them together into a story, create a journal in a blank book or with publishing software, with chapters detailing individual memories and stories. Journals can be as simple or as elaborate as you want.
If you are especially crafty…make your own journal completely from scratch. Instructions here: http://whipup.net/2006/08/21/handbound-journals/
Consider making a memory scrapbook or page for an existing album by combining drawings, photos, stories, and items unique to your lost pet. If you have children, this might be a great way to engage them in sharing their feelings and remembering their pet. Set aside some time for everyone interested in helping to create a page for their favorite story of the pet, pick out their favorite picture or draw their own. Gather any items that have meaning from your pets’ life to add depth and a personal touch to your project.
I like to do scrapbooking projects by myself with my favorite music playing in the background. I get lost in the creative process and find the time spent quietly alone to be very meditative and healing. You may want to have others help. For some, the element of collaboration and community aids in healing. Whether you create it by yourself, or collaborate with family members and friends, it can be healing to outline the life span of your pet to form a structural basis for these projects.
A video can be an extremely powerful and emotionally satisfying way to memorialize your pet. Gather all your pictures together and create a memorial video.
Elements to consider adding include:
- still pictures gathered into a montage of meaningful segments or a life span timeline;
- filmed segments of yourself, family and friends sharing memories;
- clips from any home movies you already have;
- music; and
- special effects or audio
To complete the project, some people have created an account (called a channel) and uploaded their video to YouTube. I’ve posted a link of an example of a completed project on YouTube. I also include a link to an available software site you can use to create videos from still pictures. There are other resources available as well. Find the one that works best for you.
*As a word of note – I do not have an economic affiliation with any of the companies or products listed, have not received anything in return for highlighting their company or products, and have not personally used them. I have talked with many of the people and companies highlighted and feel comfortable sharing their ideas and products.