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Five Innovative Ways to Use Photos To Remember Loved Ones

Photos in frames. Pictures on your phone. Images are essential tools for remembering loved ones. Want fresh ideas for using snapshots? Here are five opportunities for using photos to remember the family and friends you never want to forget:

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Discover and Celebrate Your Ancestral Roots

It wasn’t too long ago that Don Lemon, anchor of CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, went on an emotional journey to Africa to learn his ancestral history. It was a heartening experience, one that seemed wholly impossible to Lemon before it began. The newsman writing, “I am often envious of my friends who can recite stories about ancestors that have been handed down through generations. I can’t do that. As a descendant of slavery in America, that hasn’t felt possible for me.”

That was until Lemon got DNA testing. Lemon was then able to trace his family tree to Nigeria, Cameroon, and the Congo, and the knowledge, he says, was transformative. After reading an advance copy of my new book Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Alive (April 12, 2016), Lemon told me, “I didn’t know these details until recently and the discovery has driven me to appreciate those I love and those I’ve lost even more.”

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Share Your Love Story and Tell Theirs

Love is in the air, and everyone loves a love story. In the movie industry, that quirky moment when the two main love interests are introduced to one another is called a “meet cute.” They might be rather predictable in film, but real life often has more intrigue and romance. After all, when you meet a new couple, don’t you often ask, “How did you meet?” I find the same question one that helps us share the love stories of our loved ones who have passed away.

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Five Ways to Use Social Media to Remember Loved Ones

Technology is the low-hanging fruit of memory-keeping. Emails, texts, social media and apps allow us to work virtually and socialize remotely. The power of these devices can easily be harnessed to keep your loved one’s memory alive. The tools are already in your pocket and on your desk. By incorporating memories into your digital life, a dual opportunity exists to reflect and receive: You can share memories while simultaneously taking comfort in the stories and support that ricochet back.

I encourage you to integrate your loved one into the rich and varied digital life you already lead—whether at home, work, or on the go. The Forget Me Nots below are my top five ways to use social media to remember loved ones.  

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20 Years #rememberinglynn

It was twenty years ago this week that my mother died of ovarian cancer. I’ve lived an incredible life since she died: I’ve gotten married, given birth to two amazing children, enjoyed an exciting career in TV news, published three books, and I’m about to publish my fourth. Despite not being here, she’s never left me.  

I’ve never stopped #rememberinglynn, yet I did something different this year to mark the anniversary. I used Facebook to invite family and friends to share their memories with me and with each other.  

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Top 5 Destinations to Remember Loved Ones

As I write this post, a Blizzard Watch is in effect for New York City, and a large section of the mid-Atlantic is bracing for a “potentially paralyzing” storm. This kind of weather makes me fantasize about heading someplace warm and drives me to think about travel in general.  Ecotourism. Adventure travel. Volunteer tourism. Specialized travel allows us to build entire trips around particular needs and interests — caring for endangered animals, jumping out of airplanes, building schools in developing countries. Why not plan a vacation around honoring our connections to the past?

What do we call a trip that speaks to the desire to celebrate loved ones in the company of like-minded people? Let’s call it Commemorative Travel.

Nearly every culture has a unique way to remember and celebrate loved ones who have passed away. Below are my top five travel destinations where you can weave acts of remembrance into an already awesome and fun vacation.

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Alan Rickman, David Bowie, and a National Call to Cure Cancer

This morning, my Facebook page filled with news that Alan Rickman, or as many of us will always remember him, Professor Snape, had passed away from cancer.

Of course, this is not the only beloved artist to die of cancer this week. Just a few days ago the world learned David Bowie succumbed to cancer as well.

These are the kind of stories that reverberate throughout social media. But they are also, sadly, nothing new. And surely these celebrity cancer deaths won’t be the last. Bowie and Rickman are just the latest casualties of cancer, one of the great enemies of humanity.

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Make This the Year to Remember Intentionally

The clock struck midnight a week ago and just like that we got 365 new days full of promise. I’m a resolution person. I’m grateful for new beginnings. This year, I’ve decided to double down on my efforts to celebrate and honor loved ones intentionally.  I’m on a mission. Join me!

Whether it was last year or decades ago that you lost someone close to your heart, make this the year to do something that is a purposeful act remembrance.  On April 12, 2016 I’ll launch my book, Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Alive, which is full of eighty-five ideas to commemorate those we never want to forget. I call these strategies Forget Me Nots. I’ve shared a few in my previous blogs and on Facebook, which I’ll continue.

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Gwyneth Paltrow and Lessons I’ve Learned From Her Kitchen

Gwyneth Paltrow has a lot to teach us about food and using it to keep the memory of loved ones alive, especially important I think around the holidays.

In her cookbook My Father’s Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness, the Oscar-winning actress writes why cooking is so important to her: “I always feel closest to my father, who was the love of my life until his death in 2002, when I am in the kitchen,” she explains.

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Holiday Giving with Loved Ones in Mind

Maybe your shopping is finished. Chanukah, after all, is already in progress. If you’re searching for a few final things, I’d like to suggest two meaningful gift-giving ideas that will help keep the memory of your loved one alive. I’ll have more next week.

Make a Game of It

Given how much we can do with technology these days, it would be a shame to not harness its benefits for children. Personalize a deck of cards with photographs of living family members and those you’ve lost. By integrating all your loved ones, children are seamlessly taught to value every relationship in their lives.

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