Valentine’s Day, you make me feel like a box of old love letters

Photogrief / Photogrief : Litsa Williams

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by Litsa Williams

Valentine’s Day, you make me feel like this box of old love letters that I want desperately to read but can’t bring myself to open.  I know the box is full of love and memories of my family’s history, from a grandmother I loved so deeply and a grandfather I never knew.  I want to open the letters and connect with the people they were before they gave birth to my father, a man who is also now just a memory.  I know there is joy and comfort and love to be found in this box of letters.  But I also know with that love will come tears and hurt and pain, the price to pay.   Though I don’t usually run from tears and hurt, this moment in this year is different.  

Though you can’t see it, this box of letters is teetering on top of too many other boxes. In this month there has already been the pain of bidding farewell to a childhood home, a pain that has filled boxes.  There has been the pain of sorting photographs and scrapbooks of things that belonged to too many people I love and miss, cramming it all in boxes to bring home with me.  There have been countless tears that have come with this house purging process, a process that has involved me turning a single home into a thousand boxes packed to the brim.  As much as I want to open myself to the love in these letters today, the day before Valentine’s Day, I’m just not sure I have it in me.  Though normally I say the sweet is worth the bitter, I can’t find that strength today.  

So this box of letters will probably sit, untouched, through a Valentine’s Day that will probably pass, unacknowledged.  I will continue to feel like this box of unopened letters, filled with love and memories and tears and pain, keeping it all inside, waiting for a better day to open up.

This essay is a part of WYG’s PhotoGrief project. The goal of the PhotoGrief project is to create a space where people can explore and express their grief through pictures. Learn more about the project here.

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