I only have one living grandparent. My maternal grandmother died before I was born. All I ever knew of her were my mother’s memories. I lost my paternal grandparents more recently. I have my own beautiful memories of growing up next door to them. Picking tomatoes in the garden, Sunday afternoon ice cream cones, and annual family reunions. Time fades those memories. They aren’t as clear as they once were. I miss them.
Last year we lost my husband’s father to cancer. This was the most difficult loss we have had to face as a family. Jerry was a truly remarkable man and his children and grandchildren adored him. My youngest children will grow up not knowing him. My older ones will only have vague fading memories. My niece and any future grandchildren will never have the chance to meet him. They are truly missing out.
My husband also has only one grandparent left. She visited us a few months ago and I spent quite a bit of time with a camera in her face. I’m sure I annoyed her at times, but these are my most prized possessions. In a few years these photographs will be all that we have left of her. I printed my favorites into a book for my children, so that her memory will always be bright in their minds. When my grandfather and parents come to visit for Thanksgiving I will make sure to do the same for our memories of them.
The upcoming generation is the most highly photographed in history, yet they have so few printed memories. Don’t let your memories live in cyberspace to be forgotten. Print them, share them, keep them alive. If you think photographs aren’t important now, will you still feel that way when they are all you have left?
The photographs I have of our family members are my most prized possessions. They would be the first thing I grab (well after my kiddos of course) on my way out the door if my house was on fire. This is why I will continue to annoy everyone around me with a camera in their face.
You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to exist. Your friends and family don’t care if you have perfect hair, a perfect smile, or the perfect body. They just want a piece of the memory. You are perfect, because you are theirs. Exist in photos because some day they will be all that is left and for someone they will be irreplaceable treasures.