Family, fun and photographs! Another holiday weekend comes to an end, and tomorrow it is back to reality. For some of us it is back to work, for others it will be getting your children onto the school bus or driving them to school. A true indicator that summer is coming to an end and fall is knocking on it's door.
We begin to notice that the days are getting shorter, nights are cooler, and you need to keep a sweater or jacket handy when you go out. It is a time when the leaves start changing colors and eventually begin to fall off the trees and we begin to prepare for the winter months.
Today I began to upload my pictures and put them into the appropriate folders on my computer. This birthday party, that family gathering, a road trip here and special event there; storing them according to dates and events, keeping all the memories neat and tidy. It is always amazing to look at your year in review; the photos acting as a chronological diary of everything that was important and worth documenting.
There is so much truth in the old adage: 'a picture is worth a thousand words.' When we look at our photographs, we remember the event, the conversations, who was present, why it was important to have been a part of it, and how glad we are that we hadn't missed it.
As we look through our photos, we may come across those of our deceased loved ones and we may find ourselves reminiscing, longing for those days again, wishing they were here with us just one more time. As I filed my photos away, I came across my 2006 folders and I began to go through them. I looked at each photo of my daughter, feeling an emptiness and aching just to hug her one more time. A couple of years ago I would have needed a whole box of tissues, just to get through a handful of them; now I look at them and remember. I look at her smile and how her eyes would twinkle when she was having a great time, and recall how much see truly enjoyed life.
I thank God that I have these memories, and I am reminded of how precious life truly is. How we often take so much for granted and do not recognize the gifts we have been given. Life is a collection of memories, good, bad and indifferent, but a collection all the same.
So collect your memories, remember all those times you shared with your loved ones, and how your life has been enriched because of them. It may be painful at first to just look at reminders of better times, but eventually they will bring a smile to your face. When my daughter first passed away, someone suggested I put all her pictures away. Their argument was that it would be to painful for us to have any photos of Rachel around the house. I kept them out and added a few more to my framed pictures, they were welcomed and comforting.
For some of you that may not be the case, it may be to difficult to have their pictures displayed in your home. Around the same time my daughter died, another family also lost their daughter and I was told they put all her pictures away, they couldn't bear to look at them, it caused too much pain. They have since taken out photos of their daughter, but it took a while. I have said it before and I'll say it again, we all respond differently to our grief, and we all handle it and cope with it in very distinct ways. What may work for one person, is of little help to another. We all need to allow ourselves time to accept what has happened and find our way through the maze of emotions, slowly finding what is best for us.
If only life could be as neat and tidy as our photo albums, with each memory properly filed away. Keeping everything as it is, but life is not a still photo and even though we capture it's events in pictures, we cannot freeze time. Life continues to march onward, taking the roads it chooses and leading us to our new destinations. We can only hope that the memories will provide us with the strength to continue going long after our loved ones have gone.
So take out your cameras, get those snapshots of life, live it and record it, but most importantly, cherish the moments in your life. Make those memories and take nothing in life for granted.
Blessings! and until we meet again.
Title is a line from Nickleback's 'Photograph.'