Memory and Reflection

I have always taken photographs, always. Food, insects, flowers, a brick wall, a sign, friends, family. Anything that catches my eye that I want to capture and keep to share or remember I shoot. I love box cameras. I love film and working in a darkroom. I love digital. Digital has me hooked for the instant-gratification-do-I-need-to-retake-the-shot factor. I love the immediacy of it but I also love watching the image form on film in a darkroom as well. No matter how into technology I get, I will always crave my analog time.

One of the most wonderful shots that I was blessed to be able to capture was also my saddest. My grandmother, a redhead, was always very independent. Strong, stubborn, mischievously spiteful, I loved her very much and hope that shows in this shot of her.

Memory

As most of you know, I lost my grandmother in April of last year at the age of 103. She was amazing. I miss her and, though I do not dwell on her absence, there isn’t a day that goes by without a thought of her in it. I owe my mother a great debt because she cared for her for the last 12 years of her life; the thought of putting her into a home, or me my mother, is abhorrent. Though I know that I, as an only child, would/will step up and do the same, I cannot see how my mother did it. I am blessed to have been raised but such wonderful, stubborn, strong-willed women and hope to pass that on to my daughter.

If I am able to win the photo contest, though there are so many entries I just did it to share her, I will be using it toward the rest of my cash agreement for college. One of the few memories that my grandmother repeated to me on occasion was of her first grade teacher. That memory astounded me, she was 103 so it would have been in the early 1900s…!!! It was obvious that her teacher had made quite an impression on her and I wished she could have remembered more of it. I started back to college in early April, a few weeks before she passed, so I got to share that with her thankfully. I will be graduating in September with my BFA in Visual Communications, Digital Design, and then plan to go on to complete a Masters in Education.

If you would, being that my freelance work is my mainstay, I can always use help with college loans so drop in and vote for me. If not, that is ok too. Regardless, this is my favorite, and the last, image of my grandmother and I wanted to share it with everyone.

My daughter and I have been thinking a lot about her lately. Our first Christmas without her and then the new year, her absence has made a lot of changes in our lives. With the grief came relief though and a sense of peace. She was well-loved by everyone who knew her and I know that she led a very full life. I can only hope that I am as lucky. Grandma was always worried my daughter wouldn’t remember her. Sadly, in the end, it was the other way around. I think that it was mercy though, for her, that she didn’t have to say goodbye. It was hard enough on the rest of us, selfish as we were, wanting to keep her forever. I think of her often though, fondly, and got the chance to pass her on to my girl for almost 7 years which was tremendous. I won’t let her be forgotten, she is still very much a part of our lives.

Love you grandma.

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