Memory treasures: Photos

Some of ideas for those living with loss, on the theme of “continuing bonds”

It is now generally accepted amongst many professionals involved with grief support that maintaining a relationship – albeit changed – with the deceased loved one is an appropriate and healthy response to bereavement. I’ve written about this earlier, contrasting “continuing bonds” with the more familiar “moving on” themes. 

One aspect of continuing bonds is finding ways of treasuring memories. We probably all have our favourites. There are the typical ones of putting up pictures of our loved one or framing a particular letter or other item they gave us. Then there are more unusual ideas, and I thought it might be useful to put some here, with links to other places.

I’ll start here with photos. (More posts will follow with other ideas of “continuing bonds”)


Digitise your photos

It’s great to have your photos digitised, as you can use them in numerous ways. If all you have is a photo in hand, your options are limited, and you also risk losing it. Whereas if it has been created with a digital camera / mobile phone and/or you have scanned the photo to create a digital copy, you can use it in multiple ways, and also store multiple copies on the Cloud (internet-based file storage). It’s also easier to share your photos with friends far and wide, through email or on social media.

Best results for scanning photos is using a scanner. Many printers have a scanning option. If you don’t have one of these, try asking around your friends. It may also be possible to scan at a photo processing location such as large branches of Tesco. If not, you may be able to scan with your mobile phone.

More detailed technical information:

What to do with the photos?

Besides the obvious pictures in frames or a collage on the wall, there are lots of other things to do with photos. Here are just a few. (If you’ve got more suggestions, you’re welcome to share them in comments)

Where he or she has been

This is a project which can be quite enjoyable to work on.  Mark a map or globe of places where your loved one visited, or perhaps where you have been with your loved one.

This is an blog with practical tips on doing this. (Although this blog refers to your own travels, you can apply it just as well to your loved one.)

Create new from old

This is a nice idea for creating a new image by taking a new photograph while placing an old photo in view. A photo from the past can still be captured in the present. It can be a powerful symbolic reminder of the ways our loved ones still impact us in the present.


Digital picture frame

Rather than a static display of pictures, a digital picture frame enables you to display multiple pictures. You can also do a slideshow on your smartphone or other device, but the nice thing about the digital picture frame is that you and others can always see it


There are loads of places where you can get photos made into everyday items, such as mugs, key rings, fridge magnets, window decal etc.

More ideas

Links to other blogs with more ideas you might like to explore

5 Unique Ways to Use Photos to Remember Loved Ones

Create a memorial book


PS. The other side of the story: Not wanting to view pictures

I can’t leave this topic without mentioning that not everybody wants to look at photos of their loved ones. Sometimes the memories are just too painful. I could barely look at pictures of my son Pax after he died; it took years before I could sit down and enjoy leafing through his album.

There’s nothing wrong with not wanting to surround yourself with pictures. If looking at pictures makes you feel worse and you don’t want to do it, that’s fine. You’re not dishonouring the memory of your loved one, as you’re remembering them in other ways.

It’s entirely up to you. There is no wrong or right way to grieve!

Here’s further discussion on this subject



4 thoughts on “Memory treasures: Photos

  1. Pingback: Remembering with love on All Soul’s Day | A Valley Journal

  2. Pingback: Capturing memories | A Valley Journal

  3. Pingback: The geography of grief | A Valley Journal

  4. Excellent suggestions; Abi. Another related idea is to create a blog retracing our children’s life story, using all the pictures we have on hand (either digital or scanned). Doing this took me a whole year but it was very therapeutic for me as each memory did bring me such joy, even if it was bitter-sweet. Thank you so much for sharing all these ideas with us. xoxo

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