This file focuses on unexpected or untimely death, whether or not to put funeral photos in a scrapbook, how much detail to journal, etc.
Also see Addiction, Scrapping Difficult Times, Memorial Albums, Memorial Poems, Baby Memorial Albums, Children Memorial Albums, Firefighters, Law Enforcement, and Military.


Tribute Album


This is an idea for people who don't want to put things related to funerals in their family albums but who still want to honor those who had passed on.

I have an 8x10 black album. I plan to create a Tribute Album as a 'tribute' to all my relatives and friends that have passed away--I'm planning to do a one or two-page spread for each person. I will include all information I can on this page including a copy of the funeral program, birth date, date of death, cause of death (for historical reasons), dried flowers from the funeral (just a habit of mine), location of burial, and favorite memories I have of that person.

An untimely death

(a post from a scrapbook board)

Question: How do I do pages for my daughter's 10th birthday? I have been avoiding doing it. My dad died the morning of her 10th birthday . . . he sent mom up to get ice to make homemade ice cream for Kenzie's birthday. When mom got home ten minutes later he was dead of a heart attack. All pictures have red, swollen eyes and I don't know how to do them. My dad and my daughter were very close.

Answer One: What a hard, hard day that must have been for everyone, especially your daughter. I hardly know what advice to give you, but here's my first thought.
Do the page. Don't worry about a theme. Just let your feelings and memories pour out onto the page. Your daughter will always remember that day as the day her grandpa died, and having it lovingly documented by her mom will probably be therapeutic for her, not only now, but in the future. I wouldn't even worry about decoration . . . balloons and traditional birthday fare wouldn't seem appropriate. Just let your photos and words tell the story. THAT will be therapeutic for YOU.
If you need a "title" or something to tie the two events together you might use Ecclesiastes 3:1,2 and 4. "There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heaven: a time to be born and a time to die . . . a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance . . ."
Do the page. Just do it. You'll be glad you did, I promise.
My love and sympathy to you and your family. (Stacy Kocur)

Answer Two: I don't know your scrapbooking style, but I am thinking of something beautiful and with a simple elegance . . . kind of a DebraKDesigns-style page with photoessence floral stickers, perhaps? A soft matting color . . . an oval with pastel flowers on the oval . . . something quietly soothing and communicating honor. Not so much the typical birthday page for a child under these circumstances.
I think doing the layout will help bring comfort and healing. I believe that I might consider putting an earlier photo of her with her grandfather (or just a happy picture of him) with these sad pictures, as a reminder of happier days, since he will be in her heart forever.

I agree that making this page would be therapeutic, and she needs the therapy too. I think her input would be helpful to both of you. I also agree that birthday decorations might seem inappropriate. Sometimes just the doing of the page is as important as how the page turns out. If you both end up crying, or feeling sad as you do the pages, just be there for each other, and try to remember that, as sad as you are, and as bad as you feel, this is a natural part of the grieving process. It will also turn out to be a loving tribute to your father. (Ann in NC)

Album Idea

My mother-in-law's funeral was photographed by my husband. There were a LOT of photos. He mounted them all. But he didn't necessarily want to see them every time he looked in his heritage album.
I hole punched the center, just behind the jeeping, of each page of the funeral photos. I then threaded through a nice piece of grosgrain ribbon, tied it in a bow and now he can look through those pages when he chooses. (Diana B in MD)

Page Idea

If there are particular photos that could be disturbing (dead baby with parents, baby in casket, whatever), you might want to do a pocket page. Make the 'visible' part a memorial page, with birth date, height, weight, and some pretty pink and white frills or flowers, maybe a poem or some scripture from the funeral. Put the photographs inside the pocket, where they are available, but not necessarily on display. (Jean in TX)

Please, God, I'm Only 17

The day I died was an ordinary school day. How I wish I had taken the bus! But I was too cool for the bus. I remember how I wheedled the car out of Mom. "Special favor," I pleaded, "all the kids drive." When the bell rang, I threw all my books in the locker. I was free until 8:40 tomorrow morning! I ran to the parking lot, excited at the though of driving a car and being my own boss. Free!
It doesn't matter how the accident happened. I was goofing off--going too fast. Taking crazy chances. But I was enjoying my freedom and having fun. the last thing I remember was passing an old lady who seemed to be going awfully slow. I heard the deafening crash and felt a terrible jolt. Glass and steel flew everywhere. My whole body seemed to be turning inside out. I heard myself scream.
Suddenly I awakened; it was very quiet. A police officer was standing over me. Then I saw a doctor. My body was mangled. I was saturated with blood. Pieces of jagged glass were sticking out all over. Strange that I couldn't feel anything.
Hey, don't pull that sheet over my head. I can't be dead. I'm only 17. I've got a date tonight. I am supposed to grow up and have a wonderful life. I haven't lived yet. I can't be dead.
Later I was placed in a drawer. My folks had to identify me. Why did they have to see me like this? Why did I have to look at Mom's eyes when she faced the most terrible ordeal of her life? Dad suddenly looked like an old man. He told the main in charge, "Yes, he is my son."
The funeral was a weird experience. I saw all my relatives and friends walk toward the casket. They passed by, one by one, and looked at me with the saddest eyes I've ever seen. Some of my buddies were crying. A few of the girls touched my hand and sobbed as they walked away.
Please . . . somebody . . . wake me up! Get me out of here. I can't bear to see my Mom and Dad so broken up. My grandparents are so wracked with grief they can barely walk. My brother and sisters move like robots. In a daze, everybody! No one can believe this. And I can't believe it either.
Please don't bury me! I'm not dead! I have a lot of living to do! I want to laugh and run again. I want to sing and dance. Please don't put me i the ground. I promise if you give me one more chance, God, I'll be the most careful driver in the whole world. All I want is one more chance.

Please, God, I'm only 17!

One Day at a Time

In grief, one can endure the day, just the day. But when one also tries to bear the grief ahead, one cannot compass it. As for happiness, it can only be the ability to experience the moment. It is not next year that life will be so flawless and if we keep trying to wait for next year's happiness, the river of time will wind past and we shall not have lived at all.

Violent Death

Death when you're old is rest.
Death when you're sick is the pain stopping.
Death by a gun when you're not sick or old
is losing your arms and legs and eyes.
It is having your insides fall out and
your blood run away on the ground.
It is being young and wanting to
play and to learn and to love.
Then the gun smashes you and
you can't play any more.


(Edna St. Vincent Millay)

Listen, children:
Your father is dead.
From his old coats
I'll make you little jackets;
I'll make you little trousers
From his old pants.
There'll be in his pockets
Things he used to put there,
Keys and pennies
Covered with tobacco;
Dan shall have the pennies

To save in his bank;
Anne shall have the keys
To make a pretty noise with.
Life must go on,
And the dead be forgotten;
Life must go on,
Though good men die;
Anne, eat your breakfast;
Dan, take your medicine;
Life must go on;
I forget just why.


My name is Sarah
I am but three,
My eyes are swollen
I cannot see,

I must be stupid
I must be bad,
What else could have made
My daddy so mad?

I wish I were better
I wish I weren't ugly,
Then maybe my mommy
Would still want to hug me.

I can't speak at all
I can't do a wrong
Or else I'm locked up
All the day long.

When I awake
I'm all alone
The house is dark
My folks aren't home

When mommy does come
I'll try and be nice,
So maybe I'll get just
One whipping tonight.

Don't make a sound!
I just heard a car
My daddy is back
From Charlie's Bar.

I hear him curse
My name he calls
I press myself
Against the wall

I try and hide
From his evil eyes
I'm so afraid now
I'm starting to cry

He finds me weeping
He shouts ugly words,
He says its my fault
That he suffers at work.

He slaps me and hits me
And yells at me more,
I finally get free
And I run for the door.

He's already locked it
And I start to bawl,
He takes me and throws me
Against the hard wall.

I fall to the floor
With my bones nearly broken,
And my daddy continues
With more bad words spoken.

"I'm sorry!", I scream
But its now much too late
His face has been twisted
Into unimaginable hate

The hurt and the pain
Again and again
Oh please God, have mercy!
Oh please let it end!

And he finally stops
And heads for the door,
While I lay there motionless
Sprawled on the floor

My name is Sarah
And I am but three,
Tonight my daddy
Murdered me.

Not Waving But Drowning

(Stevie Smith)

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he's dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

Appointment in Samarra

(as retold by W. Somerset Maugham)

Death speaks:
There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture, now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me. The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning? That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.

To Whom It May Concern

I, being of sound mind and body, do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by artificial means. Under no circumstances should my fate be put in the hands of ignorant politicians who couldn't pass ninth-grade biology if their lives depended on it.

If a reasonable amount of time passes and I fail to sit up and ask for something chocolate, it should be presumed that I won't do so ever again.

When such a determination is reached, I hereby instruct my spouse, children and attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes and call it a day.

Under no circumstances shall the members of the legislature enact a special law to keep me on life-support machinery.

It is my wish that these idiots mind their own damn business, and pay attention instead to the health, education and future of the millions of Americans who aren't in a persistent vegetative state and who nonetheless may be in need of nourishment.

Under no circumstances shall any politicians butt into this case. I don't care how many fundamentalist votes they're trying to scrounge for their run for the presidency, it is my wish that they play politics with someone else's life and leave me alone to die in peace.

I couldn't care less if a hundred religious zealots send emails to legislators in which they pretend to care about me.

I don't know these people, and I certainly haven't authorized them to preach and/or crusade on my behalf. They should mind their own damn business, too.

If any of my family goes against my wishes and turns my case into a political cause, I hereby promise to come back from the grave and make his or her existence a living hell.


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Songs about Death

Songs about Suicide

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