You say a LARGE red x? This sounds as though something has happened in the scrapbook software.
Suggest you copy the original files into another (new)folder, and then start investigating with what you have left. Cheer -up it may be quite simple, but do copy the originals to somewhere safe first, using simple Windows copying techniques.
the photos were PCD format on a Kodak PhotoCD and they were imported into MS Word. I have been using this file for over a year without problems. Done all the usual checks i.e. no new software or hardware, no other changes that I know of.
Whatever size was the Word file? My experience of Word is that as a single document it can become pretty tetchy once it has only a few graphics imported.
If the graphics are linked, so that Word knows where to find them and only stores a reference to them, that is a different game, but that might be the cause if your PhotoCD is not always in the same drive.
As for losing all your masterpieces, they are still on the CD aren't they? but the work you have put in since may be in jeopardy.
There are all sorts of programs and ways for cataloguing, editing, and saving your pics which have to be better than Word