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Thread: Going through photos - hard choices

  1. #1
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    Going through photos - hard choices

    I am going through a large box of family photos and have run into an emotional brick wall. My intent is get rid of bad shots, duplicates and those photos that would have little meaning for DD and her family. Just a nice representation of family members but not an excess, ie every birthday or other celebration. Luckily, I am able to send quite a few to my older brother, the family historian. My sticky point now are those of my little brother who died at 31 of AIDS. Painful memories as I was his caretaker until the end when no one else was there to help. I have all his baby pictures on up through his death - perhaps 100 photos. I want to save some of course at different stages of life but it feels horrible to toss so many of them and I know my older brother doesn't want them. Looking at them just makes me sad. What would you do?

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    Senior Member KayLR's Avatar
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    Maybe scan them so they're not totally gone?
    My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished two bags of M&Ms and a chocolate cake. I feel better already!

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Well, I'm the wrong person to answer because I'm a sentimental slob. But it seems that 100 photos would be the size of a shoe box. Do you have room in your house for a shoebox? I feel that if you don't feel emotionally ready to let go of those particular pictures, I would just cut myself some slack and keep them for a while.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    Your little brother was part of the family history, and his memory shouldn't be erased.
    I really wish there was some kind of national repository for genealogical data; I hate to see it destroyed.

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    Moderator Float On's Avatar
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    What about having the photos made into a book and you can include some memories and stories of his life? It would take up less space but be available.

    I've always wondered if crematoriums allow you to have something with you, could photos be burned if you are the last to know those people?
    Float On: My "Happy Place" is on my little kayak in the coves of Table Rock Lake.

  6. #6
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaneV2.0 View Post
    Your little brother was part of the family history, and his memory shouldn't be erased.
    I really wish there was some kind of national repository for genealogical data; I hate to see it destroyed.
    How do you think your memory will live on since you donít have children?


    I do not worry about my memory living on. I know that my photographs in hardcopy will end up in someoneís dumpster at some point. Thatís fine.p, I only want them with me so the nursing home then they can go bye-bye. My online photos will Likely disappear because someone will stop paying for cloud rental space and they will go poof. And that is OK. We are here temporarily.

    For the OP I would choose 3 to 5 of the best ones of the brother, and put them in Whatever container she is using to pass on photograph to her daughter. This is her uncle she should have some remembrance of him.


    It is true that I probably will pass on a photograph or two of my parents and myself to my cousinís child since that is the only blood relative I have but I do not expect she will keep them or nor do I care if she keep ps them itís entirely up to her.

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    Most people’s photos end up in the dumpster eventually. I would just keep your favorite ones. Now with cell phones I doubt most young people even have albums anymore. Another thing that is no longer relevant.

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    Your daughter doesn't want them? I've always felt it was extra important to hang on to pictures and stories of my non-direct ancestors who died young without leaving children of their own, even more so than of my own direct ancestors, since the memories are in a sense all those individuals left behind in this world.

    After picking out what you want to keep, and making sure no one in the family wants the others, I would:

    1. Consider whether he had any close friends who may want a few of the photos as keepsakes.

    2. Consider whether they would be of any interest to the "local history" branch of your local library, or any similar institution, especially if you live in a small town. Places such as these sometimes archive materials that are only somewhat old, because they know it gains interest over time. On a similar track, some sort of AIDS memorial might be interested in the material, since it chronicles his entire life from infancy, which could make for a moving exhibit.

    3. If the photos are to be disposed of, consider doing so more ceremoniously than tossing them in the trash. For example, by burning them and then burying the ashes in your garden, or scattering the ashes in a place he loved.
    The more you know, the less you need.

  9. #9
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    Good ideas, all. Still working on them...yes, they would fit in a shoe box but I hate the idea of DD getting a bunch of photos someday that she then doesn't know what to do with. Been given too many family member's old photos that I feel overwhelmed by. I have pretty much decided that I will pick the best of his - the ones that portray his silly, charming personality and let the rest go. School pictures - no. I have this peculiar thought that when I finally exit the planet, I want to do so clean and lean. Somehow all these photos amplify those sentiments.

  10. #10
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    I know I have mentioned it before but after we took what we wanted of my mom’s pictures she took them outside and threw them in the dumpster. She didn’t leave us a burden.

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