Kids making merry in mama’s theater .
Either it’s childhood that disappears, or the child itself. We’ve had both in our family, and as bittersweet as it is to watch one’s children grow older, it is an unspeakable gift to do so.
I was looking through my digital photo archives to find a picture of my children’s oldest nephew, who would have turned 16 this coming Sunday. I only had film cameras when Erik was alive. I borrowed a digital one for the first six months of my daughter’s life, which were his last six, and they were not something I was in any way capable of or inclined to documenting photographically. Even though I wanted to (selfishly), to me it felt invasive and opportunistic to take pictures of him, knowing what we knew. The pictures would outlive him; we were trying to steal what we could, when we could. An image.
My mother’s death a dozen years earlier taught me that that’s what you’re left with: photographs, various physical ephemera, video — if you’re lucky, and memories which, over time and in an excruciating process, become simply memories of your memories. You’re also left with the love you still have. And your grief.