Celebrating Life

The end of summer and beginning of fall always seem to be a time of remembrance for me. My dad passed in August of 2006. One year later (in October) my family and I had a Memorial party in his honor. It was a chance for me to find a constructive way to deal with the mourning process.  Designing a visual memorial allowed me to become completely absorbed in his life, personality, and accomplishments. For months I gathered images from every stage of his life to display along with symbolic d├ęcor such as stars and yellow roses.

The installation was setup on the back porch of his log home. I made a projection screen from white sheets and added grommets to secure them to the columns. The video projected was an hour-long photo tribute that I had previously edited over two sleepless nights prior to his wake.

The ceiling of the porch was covered in white lights, twigs, stars, and custom ornaments for our guests to take home. This was perhaps the most stressful of all the projects. As with many things in life it took WAY longer than I had planned for.

It was really important that this event be about sharing stories and remembering the laughter that my dad brought to our lives. A signature book, with pictures to help jog memories, was available for guests to jot down stories and thoughts.

We also shared our thoughts verbally in a candle lighting ceremony. The candleholders where made by drilling holes into freshly stained wood, some of which I had acquired from my dad’s workshop.  The circular board was trimmed with birch wood picked from the ground of the wooded acreage he owned and loved. 

Becoming so enthralled with this massive design project really opened my eyes to who I am as a person. I am someone with a great need to create, it is the way I think, operate and survive. In this way I am so much like my father, and I am so thankful for that.  

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