Note from the author . . .
In September 2020 I connected with a longtime member of our community, Nanci Radford. She shared her story of devastating loss and how scrapbooking played a major role in the healing process. Below is Nanci’s story, in her own words. — Jen White, owner of DigitalScrapper.com
I began scrapbooking 20 years ago when my first grandchild was born. My purpose was simply to create memories that would someday mean something to him. I paper scrapped for almost five years, starting a second scrapbook when my first granddaughter was brought into the world in 2002.
In 2005, I discovered Scrappers Guide (now Digital Scrapper) and was immediately hooked. The most important benefit to me was being able to print the pages on archival safe paper, reassuring me that the pages would last a long time. As time went on, five more grandkids were added to the brood, and by 2017, I had seven scrapbooks in the works.
My focus was usually on special events like holidays, birthdays, first day of school, graduations, a new house or a lost tooth! Each page was created with love as a forever gift to each of them, knowing that the cycle of life will not allow me to be here forever.
Following our vacation to Italy, I created a memory book for the friends that we traveled with. They loved it, and to this day they keep it visible for visitors to see. I’ve done wedding albums for all of my own children, and as gifts for others; and I could go on and on about how much such a personal gift meant to each recipient.
Scrapbooking became a sort of therapy for me. While most of my pages were about happy times, fun times and monumental times, I found that I did my best scrapping when I felt nostalgic. I learned that when I had a tough day or felt overwhelmed, I could sit with my computer and reframe my thoughts to something more relaxing and positive. Scrapping allowed me time to focus on how lucky I am to have such beautiful moments to remember.
Then tragedy hit our family…hard! In May of 2018, we learned that our sweet daughter, Staci, had been diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. The next year and a half was a series of many highs and lows, long drives and late nights. Staci lived about six hours away, which meant we all split up the time to be with her, her husband and her son.
We lost Staci on September 19, 2019. She fought the fight with all she had, staying positive until the end, because that is who she was! When our family gathered to plan a celebration of her life, we went through the hundreds and hundreds of photos from the past 46 years. We told stories and we laughed, and we chose our favorites for the story boards. Using my scrapbooking skills, I was able to add quotes and stories to those photos.
I share all of this with my scrapbook family because each of you, at some time or another, will feel the pain of tragedy. I can’t deny this was the most devastating moment of my life. I felt a need to be a mother, a friend, a daughter, a spouse, a grandmother…to give love, support, strength, hugs, compassion and humor to those around me. I felt blessed by friends and acquaintances that reached out to me with offers to help.
But nothing came close to easing my pain and giving me purpose like the moments I spent scrapbooking. It was my time to document the story of her life; to create memories of Staci for her husband and son, her grandmother, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews and friends in a way that meant something to those that loved her so deeply.
I don’t think it was a coincidence that Karen Schulz’ Sketch Effect tutorial came out the day before the anniversary of Staci’s passing. The sketch effect had such a soft and calming effect, and with Staci on my mind all day, I decided to create a memory of her with one of my favorite photos. It did my heart good to create the layout and share it with the family when we got together to remember and celebrate her life. I plan to choose a different photo each year and keep a scrapbook going forward…just to remind us all how lucky we were to have had her in our lives.
In closing, I want to encourage all of you, whether you are a newbie or a seasoned scrapper, to use your scrapbooking skills not just to share photos, but to share stories. Journal, journal, journal! Document the happy times, the funny times, the monumental times, AND the sad and difficult times. Your stories will mean so much to those you love and to future generations! Let your scrapping be your happy place, your calming place, a place where you document life.
I want to thank Jen White and my entire Digital Scrapper Family for allowing me to share my story and memories of our beautiful, sweet and loving Staci!
Love, Nanci Radford
Round Beach Lake, IL
Do You Have a Story to Tell of Scrapbooking Through Loss or Tragedy?
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Post Images: Created with Inner Beauty by Palvinka Designs
Page: Remembering Staci by Nanci Radford
Tutorial: Sketch Effect 2
Kits/Supplies: Duty, Honor, Country by Danyale
Fonts: Bridgetown and Dandelion Vintage
Page: Wonder of Max by Nanci Radford
Tutorial: Corner Fold by Scrappers Guide
Kits/Supplies: Autumn Splendor by Karen Aicken
Fonts: olkien, Scriptina, Alois, UltraShadow, SayerSpiritualMN
Page: Year of the Monkey by Nanci Radford
Tutorial: Making Lace by Scrappers Guide
Kit/Supplies: Black Tie by Michelle Coleman
Page: 6th Grade Memories
Kit/Supplies: Frames by Katie Pertiet, Back2School Whimsy by Jen Allyson, Holly Designs and Digital Scrapper Designs, School Zone by Lily Pad
Font: Freshman and Clementine Sketch
Page: Loves of my Life by Nanci Radford
Kits/Supplies: Thankfully by Krystal Hartley, Rich Autumn by Kim Jensen, Collageable Pieces by Katie Pertiet, Fall Garden by Katie Pertiet, Autumn Days by Kristin Cronin-Barrow, Soaring High by Eva Kipler
Fonts: Gentle Giant and Wonderblend
Page: An Almost Winter Day
Kit/Supplies: Christmas Cheer by Dora at Scrapstreet, Christmas Chic by Studio NLD, Time For Misletoe & Holly by Jady Day Studios, Peace & Joy by Retrodiva
Fonts: Veteran Typewriter
Page: Always by Nanci Radford
Kits/Supplies: Letterbox Remnants by Katie Pertiet, Naturals by NS, Go Getter by Misty Cato
Page: Ciao Italy Dedication by Nanci Radford
Kit/Supplies: Rusty Pumpkin Patch by Julie Meade
Page: Staci’s Journey by Nanci Radford
Kit/Supplies: Capture the Journey by Jocee Designs, Stacy Carlson at Gotta Pixel, Happy go Lucky at Shabby Princess Designs
Page: Our Family by Nanci Radford
Autumn Flowers by Dana Zarling
Fonts: Windsor Great Park, Allura and Aleo
Page: Emma_Stand_Up_to_Cancer by Nanci Radford
Kit/Supplies: Dirty Grid by Brusheezy, Autumn Florwers by Dana Zarling, My Garden by Maria Designs
Fonts: Berolina and DJB Coffee Shoppe Espresso
Page: This is Us by Nanci Radford
Kits/Supplies: Indian Summer by Coreen Silke, Art Palette by Cilenia Curtis
Font: Annoying Kettle
Author: Jen White | Contact Us
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