Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Photo booth pictures become timeless memorial

Do you remember when Donna Darby-Walthall put out a call for great stories about memorial designs? We have our winner! It's Missy West, West Memorials in Memphis. She shared a very personal story about the memorial she created for her dad and brother:

"I have been a memorialist for 14 years and by far the most satisfying and happiest marker I have ever designed was for my brother and my dad.

"My brother, Brad, died in a motorcycle accident when we were teenagers. In 1986, his marker was chosen from a catalog. It was 'pine cones,' the most 'masculine' border suggestion the funeral home could offer. Interestingly, my brother and I kept up the yard at our dad's house. We would fight about whose turn it was to do the part of the yard where all the pine trees grew.

"When my dad died, he wanted to be buried with my brother. I knew exactly the picture I wanted to use for the marker. The picture was taken in a photo booth, in an arcade, on the boardwalk in Myrtle Beach, SC. It was a fabulous vacation. The photo strip was a family treasure. It hung on several refrigerators or kitchen cabinets over the years. I submitted the very simple design to Trigard.

"I was with a client and my graphics department sent a text asking me to come back to the office - there was a surprise from Trigard.  I could not get things wrapped up fast enough.  I tore open the box and the marker was exactly the way I envisioned.  I cried and laughed.

"My husband, Paul, and I were in SC to arrange the inurnment of my dad's ashes. While in the funeral home, Paul took my brother's old marker from the granite base and replaced it with the new marker for my dad and brother. I was so thrilled to see it in place - I laughed and cried.

"I have a very strict rule for myself, as a memorialist - I never say 'I understand' to a family. It lessens the story being told. You truly do not understand how they feel, their love for a person, the sadness in their heart, the hope that they have for the future. No one could have understood the happiness I had the day I stood at my brother's and dad's grave. The piece of art I designed for these two guys from the picture that made us all giggle was right at my feet, just as I understood it should be."

Missy West
West Memorials, Memphis

Missy, we are so pleased to help you and your family celebrate their lives and transform those cherished family photographs into a timeless marker. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story!

This article originally appeared in Modern Memorialization, Trigard Memorials' weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at http://www.trigard.com/thursdays.

1 comment:

  1. I love this story so much. Sorry, but I do "understand". While my dad was losing life, there was nothing I could do for him. But once he passed, I had a task. I fulfilled his wish to the letter, and that was his headstone. And now, I just had a headstone made for my Great Grandparents who never had one. You don't stop taking care of your family just because they are gone.