COVID19 has given me time, I would otherwise not have, to do some spring cleaning and general organizing; as I keep saying. One of the things that has gotten my attention is putting photos, going back years, in chronological order, into albums. Some of these photos go back to before I was born, in black and white. I have taken immense pleasure going through these photos of my parents, both of whom have left this earth, my grandmother (never met either of my grandfathers) my Godmother, also deceased, numerous aunts, uncles, that have also left us, family friends, young, happy, at the start their adult life. They are dancing, partying, posing at various events, dressed - up, giggling and serious. Then wedding photos, baby photos and the look of proud parents, can't be missed.
I have no recollection of some photos of me, but think all these aunts, uncles, friends would have 'goegoed' at me, picked me up, wiped my tears, given me sweets and kept a watchful eye over me. Suddenly; an epiphany, respect, I didn't consider or much appreciate before. Then another, so at one point my parents' generation, were busy being young and planning their future, with their whole life ahead of them; not knowing what life would bring.
My heart is moved, I am touched remembering, the older generation like "good friends we've lost along the way" as Bob Marley put it, so succinctly, in song. There is a whole load of emotion and reflection. There is joy; I smile. I am sad too, I know so much unhappiness, was ahead for many of those smiling faces. The Bible says life is a mist that is for a little while. Over and over the photos that catch my attention the most are of my parents partying, dancing carefree and happy. The broad smiles on their faces, tell me this. I am also mindful of where we (their kids) get our fashion sense. They are dressed up in the latest fashion, those tiny waisted full skirts fur coats (yes, not politically correct now), coiffed hair or curls, with the straightening comb and tongs..... smart suits for my dad.
There are photos of me and my siblings, our christening, birthday parties, cousins, family friends, I haven't seen for years. I'm dressed in jolly party dresses, like I did with my daughter, the pretty doll aspect of motherhood. I strain to remember old friends, recognise some easily and recall the circumstances of the photos. The lawyer, the diplomat, the weddings, the events. There also those I have lost touch with over the years. Then sadness, the ones we lost along the way, through suicide, through ill health, accidents. One sad photo, triggers unpleasant memories of others, not in the album. Lifes cut short, too young, too early, there was still so much to learn and experience. I am thankful.
I come across more recent photos, gosh, I've put on weight. I'm not over weight (10 - 12 depending on style, now) but I can see from my once size 8 (UK), I have gained pounds around my face especially. I compare photos. My face is fuller, my belly.... rounded, rather than flat and tight. In fact everywhere has more weight, there's no getting away from it. I think uhmmmm..... it just creeps up on you, twenty years have passed since my size 8 days.
It all seems like a film, a replay of an old flickering reel that someone is winding in a dark room. Its you, it happened but somehow its intangible, surreal. Holiday photos, parties, special events, alone, with friends, with family. So many different times and occasions.
I stare and laugh at photos of my chubby daughter, now a 5.10 inches lady, I remember things around her birth and 1st birthday, like yesterday. I imagine this is how it was for my parents and their generation. I start to pray again this time to be a grandmother, so I can add to the flow of moments, because now I see these albums not a images but life. Time flies, moments are an accumulation of a timeline. These photos capture a moment, a minuscule particle of infinity. How lucky I live in a time, when moments can be captured like this, so easily.
I remind myself, I have experienced life, relationships, interacted, lived. Despite its fragility and limitation, paradoxically life is also timeless. It all happened, eternity never takes that away, no matter that life is a mist, intangible, that we are mortal. I am at a point now but look at all behind, that has brought me here. There is a Yoruba (West Africa) saying, a young person may have as many clothes as an old person but never as many rags. How true!!! Its easy to forget, caught up with so many things we don't even notice 24/7 is happening under our noses. Mindfulness and meditation helps capture moments but it seems a photo has a more lasting effect, I am only now beginning to appreciate. Do you have photos. Go through them regularly. It will help to earth you. It does me anyway.
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#dreams, #memories, #hope, #young #mindfulness