Menomonie Couple Create App to Help Users Move Through Grief
See Me In The Wonder now has an app-based platform for journaling – Seeing The Wonder
The golden leaves of autumn dance with fragility in the warm, delicate breeze. I’m reminded of him– my grandfather. I’m reminded of how beautiful life was with him in this world; now I see him in simple everyday treasures of life. Life is beautiful. Life is fragile. My family and I lost my grandfather in December. We all found solace in pouring over old photos and sharing memories. We found hope in holding onto each other.
Community and connection – this is the beauty of what Robert and Laurel Fraher of Menomonie’s HappyLove Studios have created with their new app, Seeing the Wonder. The app is an extension of Laurel’s illustrated love poem, See Me in the Wonder. Laurel wrote the poem in response to the loss of their daughter, Julia, to cancer when she was just 3 years old. See Me in the Wonder reminds us that, even when someone we love leaves this world, they’re still connected to us. We can find them in the beauty of this world; in the flutter of a butterfly’s wings to the rustle of trees swaying in the wind.
“I saw the beauty of Laurel’s book and knew that it could be much more than a print-based experience. I wanted to turn it into a rich media experience,” says Robert, a professor of graphic design and interactive media at UW-Stout. Robert has been studying the therapeutic benefits of interactive media and emphasizes the importance of sharing ideas with others. “It’s an integral part of helping others make meaning out of loss,” he says. He also reminds us that having a sense of community helps us find healing.
“I saw the beauty of Laurel’s book and knew that it could be much more than a print-based experience. I wanted to turn it into a rich media experience.”
Seeing the Wonder is a user-friendly, simple, and elegant app. The app is broken into two components: the option to view the love poem, See Me in the Wonder, or create a journal entry with pictures and text. The love poem component provides users the option to hear Laurel read the poem. They can also choose to read the poem with piano accompaniment or nature sounds. The journaling facet of the app allows users to upload photos of loved ones they’ve lost and note words of inspiration. Users may also connect to their device’s camera and take photos of nature or other inspiration to upload.
“One of my favorite parts of the app,” Laurel says, “is the option to randomize your saved journal entries. On days when grief has you floating; and you don’t feel grounded, the randomize function allows you to take a moment to catch your breath and open your journal for a burst of encouragement. It’s much like how a person picks up a favorite book and opens to a random page when they need a pick-me-up.”
Once completed, the journal entries can be saved and shared with loved ones in the form of images. The Frahers also encourage users to upload their journal entries to Instagram using the hashtag #seeingthewonder as a way to expand their circle of connection. “I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to bring the same sense of awe and wonder that Laurel has with her book into a digital environment,” says Robert. “My hope is that the app opens up more opportunities for us to help people. The fact of the matter is that loss is everywhere, and it’s been really exciting to hear from others just how helpful the app has been.”
Seeing the Wonder is available for $1.99 for both iOS and Android devices.