Waiting for the Scab

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I have always been the unofficial historian of my family. As a child I would spend hours going through the big cardboard box of photos. I’d memorize the faces and the events that were captured on film long before I was born. Mom would tell stories and explain who each person was and how we were related. I listened intently and committed it all to memory.

Not surprisingly, since the death of my Dad, and less than two months later my Mom, my role as the archivist for our clan has become somewhat more official.

I am now the keeper of the cardboard box, along with the photo albums depicting my youth, and that of my parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents before me. These treasures currently sit in a large plastic tub in the corner of our spare bedroom.

The plan is to sort them. To scan them. To catalog them digitally. To provide my brother, my sister, my nieces and nephews, with copies for posterity. A visual story of where we come from – of who we are.

But I am unable to begin the project.

It will soon be one year since my parents moved on from this life to whatever it is out there that waits for us all. The enjoyment I once felt while sifting through our past has been replaced by sadness.

Instead of gratitude for times we shared, I am still lamenting what has been lost. The full, rich, lives that were lived but are now just memories – memories that will fade and disintegrate as the generations pass.

In this moment, this nostalgia is too painful to bear.

As the saying goes, “time heals all wounds” and I know that this is true. But right now, the wound is still too fresh. The scab refuses to form. It gets picked at by a million little reminders. By a story, a turn of phrase, a voice – or a photo.

I look forward to the day when I can smile at the memories. A day when this nostalgia no longer hurts.

 

This post is in response to The Daily Post prompt “Nostalgia.”

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15 thoughts on “Waiting for the Scab

  1. I am 65 years old. My father died when I was 15. To this day I feel the pain. However mostly it is bitter sweet and the memories cover you like a warm blanket. You will get there also, as we all have. The best thing you could do to honor your parents and ancestors is to complete your project on the photographs. The very best to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for such kind words. I know the loss will be with me always, but also know it will get easier. I also know that I’ll get a lot of joy out of the project once I get started.

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  2. It is hard. I know. I inherited a box of old photographs when my grandmother died. Since I lost my mom to cancer when I was fifteen, the photos of her as a baby and a little girl are priceless to me. I love looking at the photos, but they also stir up something inside that is unsettling. They remind me that we are all just passing through, and one day all that will be left of us are the memories as well. I am a writer, so I know I will leave behind many words as well as photos, but even that is just—memories. Then there is a side of me that feels empowered by all of this. Yes, we are just here and then gone, so why let any of the small stuff worry me. There have been so many before me, and there will be many more after me. This is my little time to inhabit this earth, and I want to make the most of it. That’s what I like to get from that little box of photographs.
    I have been trying to put my favorites in a memory album, writing what each photo makes me think of–sharing any memories I have of my mother re-telling the stories in those photographs. I have only barely gotten into this project. I just don’t have time to sift through memories right now because I am busy with life. And that is okay too :).
    Sherri

    Liked by 1 person

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