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Defining Tribute


By Lynn Isenberg

Tributes are about LIFE. They represent the glue of togetherness, the invisible adhesive quality of “family,” of “friends,” of “community.” Tributes honor the momentous cycles of life that we have the opportunity to celebrate. They are for rites of passage; for births, confirmations, bar/bat/bark mitzvahs, graduations, weddings, anniversaries, roasts, reunions, retirement, new beginnings, and soul transitions. That’s why MADDY BANKS’ signature on her Dear Maddy advice column reads “To Life, Maddy.” Maddy is the voice of celebration, the voice of participation that leads to transformation. She encourages everyone to celebrate the lives of our loved ones by honoring their essence through the gift of personal expression.

I’m Maddy’s mother, or rather, her creator. Maddy came into existence as the protagonist of a comedy of trilogy novels I wrote called THE FUNERAL PLANNER. The novels have been adapted into a video on demand series featuring Joss Stone (who lights up the screen, by the way). They are also in-the-process of becoming a movie with the director of Miss Congeniality, Mystic Pizza, and How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days. And more… which I won’t go into now. Suffice to say that through all of these media-related births, I’ve become… Maddy Banks. Yes, that’s right. I’ve taken on the persona of my character, or maybe she’s taken on mine. In any event, I’ve been hailed as an expert on the meaning of Life Celebrations and Tributes.

So… with respect to “tributes,” the first thing I’d like to point out, or rather ask is when did “tributes” become all about the dead? It seems there’s this death-related connotation associated with the word. Yet, when Googling the word “tribute” I am realigned with its origins; which happens to mean “something given or done as an expression of esteem” or “a gift, payment, declaration or other acknowledgment of gratitude, respect, or admiration.” I don’t see death in there, do you? Personally, I prefer the first quote. There’s something lyrical and poetic in “something given or done as an expression of esteem.” And Shutterfly’s tribute solutions offer beautiful and heartfelt ways to see the loving essence in anothers soul and to create a personalized tribute to do just that.

It is the process of creating a Shutterfly tribute photo book itself that is magical, for when we capture and share that special moment inside an image we experience the gift of alignment with that which is greater than ourselves. Creating a Shutterfly tribute photo book takes us into that space, and I can’t think of a better place to be. So to be clear before launching into a series of articles on tributes, remember that a tribute is all encompassing and can be an expression of esteem for all of life’s cycles, whether the participants are alive and well, alive and not-so-well, or alive-in-spirit.

To Life, Lynn a.k.a. Maddy.