Deb Chebatoris and I are pleased to bring the third annual Tribute Scroll to you. This year I was able to break free from the Flash slideshow and create a smoother and more comprehensive presentation.
Every year Deb encourages Pet Memorial Sunday participants to provide photos of their pets and a written tribute of 50 words or fewer. In 2010 we decided to begin this new tradition and offer something families could visit even after Pet Memorial Sunday as a memory of the event and as a lasting tribute to their pet.
I enjoy the event as do all of Deb’s families who participate, but we’re always considering other things to offer in between. I know how much I love to revisit events and people who brought me comfort after one of my losses, and how just seeing a favorite photo can make a pet seem so close.
After working with photo and presentation slideshows for myself and other customers, and as Pet Memorial Sunday drew near, I remembered listening to the tributes from past events and looking at the photos. Just being there with everyone I began envisioning a beautiful and reverent presentation of each family’s pet or pets and its tribute. This could be on the website, well, forever, or at least as long as the website is there. We’d do a new one every year, perhaps add music to make the experience feel loving and relaxing.
I proposed it to Deb and she liked the idea too, and asked families to provide a digital image of their photo if possible.
I had initially only visualized the photos and tributes fading into one another, a pet’s image followed by the written tribute, but the idea grew as we worked on it. Some families didn’t provide a photo so I used images from my own stock of nature, flowers, butterflies and beautiful skies in the place of the pet’s image, somehow relating the image to something about the pet mentioned in the tribute if possible. In this version of the Scroll the pets’ photos fades back and the tribute appears on the faded image. Previously, I also chose other images of nature to use as a backdrop to the tribute. I felt having the words obscuring the pet’s image was somehow disrespectful and also distracting from the moving tributes people had written, and a lovely image of nature can only be more calming. I was just so excited to be able to use my images for this. I’m still not sure about this and I like it both ways.
As Deb’s “publicist”, I photograph all of her major events, and the slideshow also includes parts of the introduction and closing remarks from Pet Memorial Sunday along with my photos of the memory tables and the dove release as well as the exceptional sunset that day.
We were initially going to use a piece of music either Deb or I would create or something we could find on the internet, but Deb knew a musician who agreed to compose original music for the production and we use it each year.
I have to warn you, get some tissues ready. It’s not sad, simply very moving to see these everyday pet photos and read the words of the families, sharing this experience even virtually. After watching it repeatedly in the past few weeks you’d think I’d be a little bit immune to it, but when I take a little break and watch it again, off I go sprouting tears.
I was a speaker at the event this year, and while I’d planned a tribute to Cookie and Kelly to add to the event I found, for once, I just didn’t have the words. Right now I still don’t, but perhaps next year I will.
To view the Tribute Scrolls
This year’s Scroll is an MP4 movie which I’ve embedded below and also uploaded on YouTube, while prior years’ Scrolls are Flash slideshows and can be seen on the Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation website.
When you visit the website and click on the link, the Tribute Scroll will open in a new window on top of the page you are viewing and will begin to play after about five seconds. If the page does not open, make sure you temporarily allow pop-ups.
The slideshow is about eight minutes long and pauses on each image and each tribute long enough for you to read be able to ponder and appreciate them. You can also pause and resume the slideshow and scroll through the thumbnails to one you’d like to see using the controls at the bottom of the screen.
Each year, we’ll add another slideshow from the next Pet Memorial Sunday, but all the shows will remain on the “Tribute Scroll” page, so bookmark it!
Please feel free to post any comments about the Tribute Scroll here. We’d love to hear what you think.
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