Hello, again! This is Amber, founder and creative director of Simple Stories. I'm here for another installment of my monthly Document IT blog feature; however, this month I'm taking a break from my regular series to talk about documenting life in a different way based on a recent experience that deeply affected our family, and particularly our teenage daughter.
At Simple Stories, we produce product that help you capture your story. Sometimes our stories are full of love, happiness and goodness – but sometimes there’s loss, heartache and sadness. It’s important we document ALL of our stories from the happiness to the heartache, as evidenced earlier this month.
On Monday, June 1 our 13 year old daughter received a message that 4 of her friends were missing. They were part of a group of 7 that were boating in a local lake when a sudden storm hit the area and they were thrown into the cold waters when their boat capsized. Although everyone inside the boat was wearing a life jacket, the water temperature was 53 degrees.
I can’t put into words how devastating this news was, especially for our daughter. These were our friends and neighbors; girls our daughter went to school with, hung out with and were just at our house for an end-of-year school party. We stayed up late with her that night to wait for news. Tuesday morning the final report was heartbreaking - 4 of the 7 boaters did not survive, including two of her friends, as well as the father and sister of one of the girls. One of the hardest things was telling our daughter the news that her friends were gone.
Our hearts were broken and we couldn’t imagine what their families were going through. As a mother, my heart ached for these families that had lost their girls. I thought a lot about what I could do to help. I knew others felt the same way, especially the girls' group of friends that were struggling with the news as well.
As a memory keeper, I know two of the most precious gifts can be memories and photos. I felt it was important for us to share this with the families that had lost so much. We wanted to do something special to remember these special girls, so we gathered our daughter's friends together to create a keepsake album for each family. I had the kids send me photos of the girls that they'd like to share in the album.
This gave our daughter and her friends a chance to talk about their feelings and unite together to support and share their love for the girls that had died - an extremely therapeutic process for these teenagers.
This grew from having a group of teenagers in our family room sharing their memories and writing special messages for the girls to having the albums available at the candlelight vigil for the community to also write messages to put in the albums.
It was a very humbling experience for me to put together the final albums, combining photographs of the girls along with messages from their friends and members of the community. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to give something to the girls' families to help remember their daugthers and to know just how much they are loved and will be missed.
We created some special sentiments specifically for these albums that I wanted to share with you this month for the free printables. As I mentioned earlier, It’s important we document ALL of our stories from the happiness to the heartache. It is my hope that these printables may help you document any heartache in your life that you may have experienced.
Click here to download June's Free Life Documented Printables.
Thank you for letting me take my monthly blog post in a different direction today and sharing this experience.