Monday, March 25, 2013

Photo Biography - Slice 26 of 31

If you could go through all your family photos, which ones would you choose to tell your life story? The Stevenson Funeral Home in Miles City, MT has always done an exemplary job as they connect with family.  One of their trademark customs has been a photo video/cd montage.  They have made these as part of their service for over 30 years that I know of.   Family members select and bring in pictures.  Stevenson's scan the pictures make a slide show of the loved ones life.

The photo-memorial was shown during the reception following the funeral service.  It was bitter-sweet.  I saw pictures of my step-children with their grandfather when they were young.  One picture stood out for me, not because of the photo but because of my step-son's commentary.

It was a photo of his grandma and grandpa sitting together flanked by rows of empty chairs.  The yard was set up for the wedding of one of their grand-daughters.  My step-son's comment - "You can tell from his expression he was planning a conspiracy and grandma was trying to squelch it."

At that moment I had wished I had known him then.  I met him as he fought the ravishes of Parkinson's.  I did not know the man that teased his grandchildren or braved a bear to keep his family safe.

As I watched the pictures I remembered another conversation.  A friend lost her husband and they were preparing for the funeral.  This family had been photo buffs, over the years they had taken hundreds of pictures.  My friend said she got her children and grandchildren together (15 people).  Put all the photos on the table and asked all 15 to choose 15 pictures they wanted included in the slide show.

As a family they would narrow that number down to 5 each.  She told each family member that at the designated time they would present each photo they wanted to include and tell why it was important   .  Why they wanted it included.

She said that day was so healing.  There was laughter interspersed between the tears as they relived family memories.  She said it was such a powerful experience.

As I watched the photo-memorial I was again struck at the power of someone's story.  Today they buried a good man.  They buried my husband's father-in-law.


  1. I like that you shared such a personal experience, Ruth, and am sorry for you & your husband. It's not easy to say goodbye to a loved one. And I also liked that you shared a little about the funeral home & their tradition. Recent funerals I've been to are also offering slide shows. I like seeing them. Thanks!

  2. Such a memorable post! Death, living, photos, healing and family. Your post also reminded me about my summer task; organizing photographs.

  3. Photos are preserved memories. What a great thing this funeral home does. I'm sorry for your loss to your family.


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