A Handful of Images: On Photography and Loss
We recently experienced a death in my husband’s family as we lost a family matriarch after 92 years of a life well lived. As I sit with the family the conversation turns to how to best celebrate her life during a memorial. Images are a meaningful part of the celebration, a handful of images are all that we have. These photos from her life are being gathered from various boxes and computers, each bringing up another memory and revealing a different aspect of her life. Yet I find it so sad to hear each family member wish they had more to remember her by.
Why is it that we so often wait until someone has passed to realize we have so few tangible memories of of those we love? This amazing woman who everyone respectfully calls “Grandma”, immigrated from Thailand and cared for all the kids in the family. She helped raise my husband and for that I am so grateful. I wish I had pictures of her with him as a child. She is a fixture in so many of him memories and I know our kids will hear of her legacy someday.
This reminder of how important images that tell our story are reinforces my love for documentary photography. Family legacy is a powerful thing and tangible reminders are beautiful to have during times of loss. Please don’t wait until the end to document your own loved ones. Images will stand the test of time and leave a memorable reminder of the impact you have on each life you touch.