And losing a parent when you’re young.. its hits hard. It hits you like a ton of bricks, but it doesn’t hurt. You don’t feel anything at first. You feel completely numb. It is kind of like you’re living in your own nightmare. Like when you are in a dream, but you know its a dream so you are kind of calm about everything.
Then it hits you again, and again. Weeks go by, and they still aren’t here. And you realize you’re not in a dream. This is real life. And you try to hold it together. You try to understand how you’re supposed to live without them. How does life even move on?
For a long time, I tortured myself. I listened to every song he loved.. every night. I smelled his cologne every night, I drove past all of our hang out spots.. there was this weird fear that I might forget him. And then that made me sad. I didn’t want to forget any second I got to spend with him. So I would just spend my days thinking about all of our memories.
Then anger struck.. I was so angry I didn’t have more pictures of him. More videos. More hand written “Hi have a nice day” notes. I didn’t take the time to make sure I got all of the memories documented somehow. And it breaks my heart that the only way I get to relive these memories are in my mind. The part about this I hate the most, though, is that no one can see what I’m seeing in my mind.
I can’t physically take my thoughts of my father, and put them in front of my daughter to experience with me. I don’t get to say “this one time your Pappy threw Auntie in a swimming pool and made her belly flop, in front of EVERYONE!” while showing her the photos to enhance the story. To actually see him. If only I took that picture of those days we enjoyed at the pool.. Or.. “Your Pappy had the most horrible dance moves, and he would have this certain smile on his face bc he knew how ridiculous he looked.”.. I can tell her.. but she will never get to see it. Why didn’t I get that on video, or a simple snap of a picture!! I will never ever get to see that again, only in my memory. But what happens when that fades. Why couldn’t I have thought about that.. it was my favorite thing ever.
If only I knew how valuable photographs were back then. I would have had a camera attached to me every second of every day. We always had photographs taken of us as kids, but we definitely do not have enough of my parents. And now those times are gone forever.
It’s been 13 years, some days it feels like I just lost him a year ago, and some days it feels like a lifetime ago. But everyday, I am thankful to be able to take a deep breath, go look through my photos I have of him, and be able to see that smiling face staring back at me. He’s been gone for 13 years, but thanks to the miracle of photography, I get to see him all the time<3
Please, please take advantage of the resources we have today. Take their pictures. Take your grandmothers photos even when she begs you not to. Take your mothers photos, even when she is trying to run away from your camera..take pictures of your Dad being the dork he is. Do it often. And for God’s sake.. please print them! Display them. Keep them safe!! If loss has taught me anything, it is to savor every single second of your life and everyone in it. Fall in love with pictures. They will end up being your treasures one day.