What a Photo Means When You Loose Someone

It has taken me 1.5 years to get these words out of my brain and onto a keyboard. But that’s the funny thing about grievance. Time does not mean anything. It comes when it comes and it goes when it goes. I call it the grievance clock. Bound by no ticking, hands, minutes, hours, days, or months. The clock strikes noon when the feelings unexpectedly come back, and the clock goes backwards when it wants to.

The funny thing about the grievance clock is, it really never moves forward. Because your memories with that one person are stuck in the “past”, forever, and that is something you cannot change.

{And although you cannot change it. It is something you learn to accept. Acceptance is a skill you develop over the course of grievance. It is an act that has so many facets of moving on with life and coming to terms with what has happened. It is not a positive or a negative. It just is.}

When acceptance becomes apart of your grievance vault, you simultaneously gain an ounce of strength within your soul to revisit some memories. Memories that you did not visit previously…  Memories you subconsciously learned to not look back on, because you knew if you did, your body’s autonomic responses would be uncontrollable. Sometimes it feels good to cry, yes, but other times, you want to function, go to work, and make sure you are functioning on a human-level with a clear mind.  {When you revisit those memories too soon, you realize very quickly how easy it is to get in a head space that moves your grievance clock backwards}.

The “conscious” decision to not visit memories of your loved one, serves as a merry-go-round feeling of guilt in your mind and heart.  Guilt of, “I hope they do not think I moved on too fast”. Guilt of, “I hope if they are looking down on me, they don’t just see me moving through the motions of life without looking back”. And thoughts of “I almost feel bad, I am not thinking about it more”. But guess what. It is okay. No matter how you move on in life. Your loved one would want one thing: you to move on; not dwell.

I can tell you that even 1.5 years later, I have not re-listened to a voicemail of my mom, watched a childhood video to hear her voice, and have never once opened the videos on my phone of her narrating my farm the week before she fell asleep…. because it brings {not just pain} an unknown of how it will make me feel for an unknown time on my clock.

With all the said, I have had one avenue that has allowed me to recall memories in a manner I can emotionally and physically handle. Since the very beginning, my heart and mind have allowed me to glance at and hold on to photos of my mom. Photos that remind me of who she was, without pain-staking memories of her voice and mannerisms that I miss and know I am not ready to re-visit yet. Photos that allow me to see her happiness, my happiness, and our happiness together. Photos that bring a positive space in my life.

As I sit here typing, I can funnel these thoughts into one concrete meaning. And that is such; an image serves as a memory captured in time. A memory that not only you, your kids, and future generations can keep forever to remember… but a memory that can bring a peaceful recognition of who you are missing. A memory that can visually reflect love through images rather than words. I have photos to help me heal. I have photos to help me re-visit memories. I might not be ready to open my grievance vault of words and voice memories… but that’s okay. Because right now, I have photos. And that is more than I can ask for.

The bottom photo was from my mom's last visit to our home <3