Look at These Photographs

Brace yourselves.  This post takes on a more melancholy approach.

About a week ago, my Aunt Becky from the Kansas City area shared some photos with me.  Some of these photos I’d seen.  Others I hadn’t.  When my eyes glossed over the new ones, I couldn’t help but cry.  The vast amount of family history contained within the tiny ink droplets combined together, populating each image, blasted through a life-long healing whole in my heart.  The past week has been difficult to cope, and sometimes I’m a sadist in the sense I search for opportunities to plunge into the darkness further.  Listening to sad songs, watching sappy movies, looking through old photo albums tend to be the preferred outlets.  I do this because if I push myself through the darkness faster, then I come out much more quickly instead of remaining stagnant there.

As it be, here’s the history.

My mother passed away when I was four.  My father, left to raise me as a single parent, embraced this role as best possible.  He worked nonstop, but made sure I was well provided for.  My mother’s parents, Grammy and Pappy, provided as much support as possible through the many experiences and opportunities that wouldn’t have traditionally been afforded to me.  I grew up spending summers with Grammy and Pappy, and exploring through them my connection with to my biological mother.  At the current date, I still know very little about her.  It’s challenging for others to answer my questions or share memories, as I still feel the pain from them too.  My father having the most difficult time of all.  I feel guilty for even bringing her up, but sometimes that need to know overpowers his pain.

But back to my grandparents.

They anchored me through any storm.  Storms of my step-mother and her children after my father remarried around age seven.  Storms from the physically and verbally abusive divorce I lived through at age fifteen.  Storms of the estranged relationship I then had with my father into my early twenties.  Storms of not knowing how to manage friendships, responsibilities, and school life. They meant a tremendous deal to me, and I’m forever grateful to them, for everything.  It pains me to see grandparents raising their grandchildren, but know that I’m in a better place because of such an arrangement and hope the same for those children as well.

As I hack this out across the keys, tears stream down my face.  I miss them.  I miss all three of them so dearly. I look at these photographs and can’t help but feel the missing pieces in my heart.  I so desperately wish to speak with any of them about my son.  I want to share my exploits at school as a teacher.  I desire the support when in need of advice.  There are many people you can share these experiences with, for sure, but there’s always that one person who makes it better, or listens the best, or who just gets it.  That’s them.

At least I have my memories, and these photographs.

8 thoughts on “Look at These Photographs

  1. I enjoy old photos too. Sometimes they fill in the blanks. Last summer I shared some with two of my cousins. They told me they have some pictures of a great-grandmother I never met. Her daughter died at age 21 leaving 3 daughters for my grandpa to raise. Grandpa didn’t get on with his mother-in-law. So there was no visiting. There’s a lot more to the story but the cousins are planning to visit and share their photos with me this summer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tricia Mac

    How fortunate that you had your grandparents and they had YOU. I’m sorry for your painful experience growing up; how difficult that must’ve been. Photographs are links to our past as we frantically search for a minute detail of a memory. I’m sure your son and students gain from your knowledge and love. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mrsday75

    I can only imagine how much these photos mean to you and the loss you feel. I hope that having the pictures will eventually lead you to happy times with them that you can share with your son, Maybe you could write about some of those happy times so you’ll have something to go back and read and remember.


  4. karenszymusiak

    Wow! This post had such deep emotions. I was sad to hear about the rough spots you had growing up. But you sound strong and determined to live your life in a positive way. Sharing these thoughts prompted by a few photoagraphs is one way to keep moving. There is something about this piece that gives your writing voice strength and honesty.

    Liked by 1 person

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