This post is inspired by ‘Dear Photograph’, “where people take pictures of pictures, from the past, in the present”; where the romance of our memories meets the reality of the present; and where our loved ones may exist in a world that has gone on without them. Here at ‘What’s Your Grief,’ we believe in using photography and other creative outlets to deal with your grief and to feel close to those who have died. This project helped me on a bad day, you should give it a try too.
Guys, being a grown-up is hard. Seriously. Bills, children, accountability, employment, unemployment, relationships, political affiliations, midlife crises, health problems, existential panic, Princess Grace, Peyton Place, trouble in the Suez… We didn’t start the fire… it was always burning since the worlds been turning.
I’ve already gotten off track… but while we’re on the subject of 80s Pop, let me brag about the time my older sister and I memorized the lyrics to both ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ and ‘Killer Queen’ in one afternoon WITHOUT the help of the internet.
When life gets hard, I long for afternoons like these, when I could spend two guilt-free hours memorizing the lyrics to some stupid pop song just for the fun of it. Or Friday nights watching my favorite TV shows in real time because there was no such thing as DVR. Or evenings spent at home anxiously waiting for the boy I like to call because LORD KNOWS if he calls while I’m out my mother will forget to give me the message.
These were innocent, easy times when other people made my decisions for me, my consequences were small, my responsibilities were laughable, and my world extended no further than a few miles past my front door. I know these days are gone, but boy do I ever long for them when times get tough. Sadly, so far as I know, time travel has not been invented, although I did read that scientists were looking for time travelers on Facebook and Twitter (so if you see something, say something).
I guess most of all I long for my mother. She was the only person on Earth who, no matter my age or issue, could make me feel like everything was going to be okay. I long to pick up the phone and hear her voice. I long for the feeling of comfort and security she allowed me to feel.
Those who have lost someone important know the death of a loved one changes life’s landscape forever. The people we’ve lost are like missing pieces in a jigsaw puzzle, without them the picture can never be whole again. We can try to recreate the scene, but there are elements of life before loss that can never be recaptured. Things have changed, we’ve changed.
When I’ve been away from a special place for a long time, I’m always a little bit nervous to return. My mind has a tendency to romanticize places and I know I will find it much smaller, shabbier, and more unimpressive than I remember. I’m sure I’ve done the same with memories of my younger years and the people in them.
We are never so kind as we are to people, places, and things that are gone; which I suppose is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, I always have a safe haven to return to when life gets overwhelming (albeit in my mind). On the other, no embrace will ever measure up to one that was given by someone who is forever gone. It’s not fair, measuring the past against the present. They can never be reconciled, the ‘now’ can never win. I look at a photograph and I see me and my parents smiling on my graduation day and I think, “Ah yes, they were proud of me, I was happy.” I don’t recall whatever worries were bothering me on that day. Whatever barren, winter landscape was hiding behind our smiles, is now forever melted by the warmth of my memory.
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