When Rod Mebane, author of Tributes to Lost Children, launched the initial Tributes Survey back in Spring 2014, he really had no idea if people would respond or, if they did, how they would respond. About a week after sending the survey link, Mebane looked at the database, noting that 147 families had completed the survey, and saw that the Survey Responders shared many, many experiences.
It was then that he realized what the Tributes Survey was really about. As Mebane noted in the report’s introduction, “It was about stories – 147 sets of stories to be exact, about children who have been lost to pre-mature death … stories of undying love from these children’s families and friends, of things they’ve done to pay tribute to their kids’ accomplishments, memories, dreams, and inspirations.”
As a way of organizing all of these stories, Mebane created what he called the Tributes Framework. He explained, “As I read the stories, and re-read them, I began to see themes. Then, after more familiarity, I saw themes within themes. The process went on like that for a while, and eventually a sense of order appeared within this database of stories.”
The Tributes Framework structure is grounded in three general motivations that anchor bereaved families in terms of their tribute activity:
1. Bereaved families want to keep their children present in their lives.
2. Bereaved families want their children to be remembered.
3. Bereaved families want some good to come from their losses.
Then, as Mebane explains, “The three main organizing principles give way to other layers of organization, and sprinkled all along the way of course are stories from the families – the personal accounts that make these children come to life so vividly in our imaginings and in our hearts.”
The official Tributes Framework™ is presented in the table below, and it may be seen at work in the FREE netbook version of Tributes to Lost Children.