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Keep Their Mementos Safe

When we unveil a custom framing order, we get all kinds of responses from tears to smiles to laughter. In this particular case we got a heartfelt story of the relationship between a grandson and his grandfather.


When your loved one dies eventually it’s your job is to sort through their belongings. That became my role when my grandfather passed a few years ago. It’s a daunting task. Your emotions run rampant from smiling memories of photos when you went fishing for the first time together - to the sad memories of his last hours. To my surprise there were mementos of all my firsts – when I started kindergarten, playing baseball, homecoming pictures, graduations, and wedding photos. He attended every one of my milestones – every single one. I didn’t realize what a big part of my life he was until he was gone!


He only really hung onto items and photos that meant something to him. He wasn’t a pack rat. I knew when I found his Navy memories, I’d found a part of his life that made an impact. Maybe being a seaman had changed his course in some way – but I’ll never know now. I didn’t ask enough questions and I didn’t know him as well as he knew me. Thinking back, he didn’t talk about the war and his experiences. I don’t think that’s uncommon, but I still should have asked him and been more interested in his journey. He was always engaged in what I was doing - my thoughts, goals and even my personal relationships with girls. I sometimes felt like he was prying but now I know that his intentions were always out of love. He did share his knowledge and experience as far as how to change the oil in my car, how to throw a spiral, how to cook the best steak and how to treat a woman like a princess, as he would say.


When it came to his life before me – well it’s a bit of a mystery. That’s why I had to memorialize him in some way. In a way that I could see and revisit my good memories. I chose to shadowbox the pieces of his uniform that he wore during his service. I get chills at times when I think that the hat was actually on his head while he was defending our country. He must have been so proud when he received his Honorable Discharge certificate. I’ve always been told that I look like grandpa when he was young. I never really thought that was true but now as I look closer, I can see the resemblance. Now as I study his face in the photo I can see more clearly, not only, his facial features but the person that I admired, loved, and looked up to my whole life.


I will treasure this shadowbox of my grandpa’s memories forever. I will pass along to my children all the special things that I learned from him and about him while I, unknowingly, spent my life following his gentle nudge to be the best person I can be.