Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Book for Dad

Losing my Dad last fall was painful beyond words. It still is actually. I wanted to do something to honor him and the full life that he lived. I wanted to do something that would help our family make it through the holidays. I wanted to make sure that his grand kids had something that they could hold in their hands and remember their grandpa. So, I put together a book about him. A book with photos, with his report cards, with letters that he had written to my Mom when they were dating. Notes about trips they had taken, about special events in his (our) lives.
I had already scanned a lot (really... a lot) of my parents photos when I put together a slide show for their anniversary. I scanned some more to use in a slide show for my Dad's funeral. Then about a month after the funeral I took home all of my parent's photo albums and scanned some more pictures.
I went through their letters and typed up portions of them to share. I took pictures of my Dad's baby shoes and some toys. Using a template from I gradually put the book together. I needed to have it done before December 15th to hit the deadline in order to get them printed in time for Christmas.
I thought I had a lot of time...but so many things came up it was hard to get started. Having a sick horse to take care of set me back a whole week just on it's own. I also tend to have trouble with procrastinating...but once I start something I can usually stick with it until it's done.
After a few months of gathering things, too many 18 hour days typing and adding pictures, and a lot of tears (smiles too) the 392 page book was done and uploaded to the printer with an hour to spare.
Ten copies were delivered to our home on Christmas Eve day. Eric made a special trip to pick them up so everyone could have their gift on Christmas Eve.
I do think that the effort was worthwhile, and it was therapuetic for me. My Mom has looked at hers almost every day...she says it helps her to get through the rough spots in the day. That alone makes it worth it. The trouble is, in my rush to get the book done, a few mistakes were made. One particularly stupid one was getting my Dad's birthday wrong on the cover. He was born on October 18th, not on Halloween. It's not like it isn't something I didn't know. Just a dumb mistake. The other thing about the book is that I wasn't very happy with the finish that was used on the plan has been to design a new paper cover to wrap around the books. I've been planning on doing it since I first saw the mistake.
But for some reason I haven't been able to start it. After all of the time I spent on the book and going through the pictures for it and all of the emotions that I poured into it, I haven't been able to open it up and look at it since. A few more people want copies, I have to fix the mistakes, it should be easy enough...but nope. You would think that the more time that goes on the easier it would get. But for me, it seems that the more time that goes on just means that it's been that much longer since I've heard his laugh and I miss him even more. It doesn't mean that I'm not just means that losing my Dad has been really, really hard. He was a pretty special guy.

I finally was able to return to the book late this week. One of the things I wanted to do was to colorize the photo for the cover. I finished that....and now I am ready to make the changes I need to make to have it published again.
It's taking some time, but I'm getting there. He wouldn't want it any other way.

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