Dearly Beloved

Three years ago, today, my grandmother passed away. Of course she lives on in our hearts and memories, but in terms of the tangible - evidence of a life well-lived, there isn't very much left.

For Christmas we gave my grandfather a collage frame that holds seven photos, and only when we were trying to fill it with pictures of her did we realize just how scarce they are. Oh, we had photos from her youth, and when my brother and I were children, but none from the last five years of her life.

I'll never forget her soft wrinkly skin, bright lipsticked smile, and snowy white hair, but I wish that I had something to hold and to look at instead of closing my eyes and willing my brain to conjure a likeness that inevitably becomes less accurate as time goes on.

Junior or senior year of high school my best friend and I went to California to visit Stanford's campus. I had recently purchased my very first DSLR - the Canon Rebel XTi, whose myriad megapixels I quickly discovered was able to elevate even the most uninspired scenes into something passably interesting. Consequently, I shot everything and anything. 

Here we are in the dining room of my grandparents' house. The fluorescent lighting was - and still is - shit. But she was laughing, demure as always, asking me why I was photographing her. I remember the entire incident and the resulting picture so vividly. And yet, my mind is the only place in which it exists now.

I fired up my old Macbook, hoping against hope, that the hard drive held a copy of the photo that Facebook and Flickr did not. But, no, clearly I must have deleted it at some point.

I would gladly give up the hundreds of photos from my travels around the world just to have that one back; to be able to print it out and place it in the collage frame.

We take so much for granted these days - that everything is automatically backed up, fail safe and fool proof but, most of all, that there will be more time. So even though my brother and I are on a campaign for our parents to reduce the amount of things in their house, I made a photo book of our Europe trip for my dad.

Because at some point there won't be any more tomorrows. Tomorrow is today, and today is for holding your loved ones close and telling them how much they mean to you.