Six Photos

How do you tell a life’s story in six photos? It’s not easy.

Google search: memorial cards About 6,330,000 results

I am always amazed by the number of hits whenever I do a Google search. I just wanted a simple memorial card to send to family and friends. I wanted to let them know the details of an upcoming celebration of life for Mom. I also wanted to share a little bit about her. Oh my goodness. I clicked on a link. Definitely too funereal.  Another link. Too, well, just not Mom.

Another link. This had possibilities. I sorted through the options. One photo. Two. Collages of any number. Tent cards. Single-sided cards. Double-sided. I needed enough room to tell a story. I opted for the double-sided six photo option.

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Honoree’s Name: Gayle Salaba Erickson Honoree’s Date of Birth: December 2, 1939 Honoree’s Date of Passing: June 5, 2015


Again I ask: How do you tell a life’s story in six photos? It’s not easy.

When I started this quest it was five months since Mom had passed. I was too fractured to plan a funeral or celebration of life at the time of her passing. It was just the two of us in Nevada. All other family were scattered across the United States. I thought it would be sweet to celebrate her life on her birthday that December in Phoenix. Her sister’s daughter lived there. Cousins wintered there. Old school chums had migrated there. I was close to there.

It is true. Time heals. You stop crying everyday as you drive to and from work. You empty the drawers and closets of her things. It’s cathartic. You begin to remember all the special times. You smile. You laugh. Not to be too cliché but laughter really is the best medicine.

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_X_Pearl Shimmer Cardstock
Definitely Pearl Shimmer. My mama liked to shimmah!

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Again I ask: How do you tell a life’s story in six photos? It’s not easy.

I spent hours looking at old photos. The ‘possibility’ stack was high. I had such joy seeing all those photos. I had to come up with a way to whittle down the stack though. And so, just as the card’s layout — three photos across the front, three photos across the back — that’s how I decided to tell her life’s story.

FRONT (Beginning to End)

Six photos. We start at the very beginning. A darling photo of her as a toddler with her mom and dad. Just her and them. They brought her into this world. They nurtured her. They taught her. They loved her.

Six photos. The next photo shows how most people would recognize her. A smile on her beautiful face and the grandeur of Alaska for a backdrop.

Six photos. The next photo is her high school graduation photo. A photo of her when she was about to embark on the next phase of her life, No longer a girl. A woman.

BACK (The Woman)

Six photos. Here’s a photo of her with her family when she was a teen. Loving daughter, sister, niece, cousin ....

Six photos. Next a photo of her with her husband and children. Loving wife, mother, aunt ....

Six photos. And the last photo. Very few recognized her with the wig. She loved that people would do a double take before they realized it was her. Then she’d laugh. The photo was taken outside her favorite hangout—the bingo hall —where everyone knew her name. Loving friend.

Six photos. That’s how I told her life’s story in six photos. It wasn’t easy. I wish I had room for a hundred more photos. But Mom, and these six photos, will be forever in my heart.