When Photographs Really Matter...
In February last year, my family decided to take a trip to the UK to visit my Grandparents. At the very last minute, literally as we were leaving to go to the airport, I grabbed my camera - my Grandpa hadn’t been very well and I thought it might be nice to take some photos to cheer him up. Seven months later I found myself on a plane again, dashing back home to be with him as he wasn’t doing too well. Three days after that, he was gone. Those last days I spent with him were very hard, he was so confused, aggressive at times, and not the man I knew and loved so very deeply. I clung onto the few times he seemed his old self, making jokes, teasing us, but then moments later he was gone again. It was traumatic, and even now, 10 weeks later, is so very raw.
The night after he died I remember lying in the little bed in the back bedroom of my Grandparent’s house, a room I had slept in so many times over the last 40 years, and a place I usually found so much comfort. But not that night. Everything was very distant, I felt horribly alone and I could not get those last, painful memories of him out of my head. At 2am, I grabbed my phone to look back at the photos from February, and almost immediately that gut-wrenching sadness started to subside - I had found my comfort. Seeing those eyes all wrinkled up and dancing as they did every time he laughed, how he very gently showed my girls how to ride his scooter in the same gentle manner he had taught me to ride a bike, this was my Grandpa and this is how I can remember him.
I am sharing this with you all because even though I have been encouraging you to print your memories for as long as I can remember, I don’t think I ever really got it until now. Now, I feel it so deeply in my soul - if I had not grabbed my camera as I dashed out the door, not taken all those photos even when my girls were giving me their best bored faces, my grief would have been so very different because in amongst all the dreadful sadness I feel, I still get to have this great joy. He is on my wall at home and he makes me smile every day. How awesome is that for a legacy?
So, as I leave you with my very precious memories… please don’t forget to capture your own xxx
~ Clifford Leonard 'John' Day 3/10/1941 - 6/12/2019 ~