Photographs don’t discriminate between the living and the dead. In the fragments of time and shards of light that compose them, everyone is equal... The pictures are always there. And so are the people in them.
I have lost too many loved ones over these past few years. It’s never easy, and grief is all consuming. However, one thing I know for sure is that moments, memories, and photographs of my loved ones bring me joy. This past spring, we lost a dear friend, mother, and wife, Onie. She was 47 years young, and the news was devastating. She leaves behind two beautiful, young daughters and a devoted husband. The news just floored me as I looked at my own daughter getting ready for college. I couldn't sleep thinking about her girls without their mother.
Every year we would receive a Christmas card featuring a photograph of her girls. I have watched them grow up through these yearly photos, and I look forward to receiving them. Just as I was thinking I wouldn't receive a card this year, it arrived. I opened it and there staring back at me was a beautiful photograph of Onie’s girls and her husband. I couldn't control the tears. As I opened the card to read the message, I was given an amazing gift—A picture of Onie with her family and a caption:
Mom/Onie always in our hearts - I'd like the memory of me to be a happy one. I'd like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.
It was the way I always want to remember Onie: with her girls and smiling. As I reflect on this past year, I realize I can neither control the good nor the bad. Despite knowing that, I am choosing to focus on the endless possibilities of the year that lies ahead.
I learned this week something I already knew—my photographs tell my story and are priceless to me.