Sunday, May 8, 2011

No More Pictures!

                               HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY TO ALL

Editor's Note: I thank Kay Bevington for sharing her views on keeping photos and memorabilia as an answer to my post on April 24. Portions of her thoughts are below.

Pictures, pictures, pictures, that word makes some of us uncomfortable and for some it makes us want to scream - NO MORE PICTURES! Having pictures taken of us after the death of our only child or all children is often very difficult and for a time impossible. Taking pictures of places we visit or people that we socialize with is often something we no longer have any desire to do.

I vividly remember the first time our church pictorial was to be printed after my only child, Rhonda's death. It was difficult because it would be the first photo of Rodney and I without our daughter. It was even more poignant because the previous time that the church pictorial was printed, Rhonda had worked as a receptionist for the photo taking of the families of the church. We almost did not have it taken but then decided it would be one thing we would do in Rhonda's memory. I remember coming home and crying for a long time after that photo sitting. On the positive side, I now realize years later, it was a giant step on our healing journey to force ourselves to do something that was umcomfortable but also something we would be faced with for the rest of our lives. We were now a couple and no longer a family of three.

Not long after Rhonda's death I began to realize that no one really cared about photos that we took when we vacationed or met with groups of people. Once in a while, we would take a few photos but rarely shared them with anyone. Gradually over the years we have ceased taking photos, and I no longer keep srapbooks or photo albums as I feel it is a waste of time and money. Who will want them anyway when we are gone? I figure nieces and nephews or a person disposing of our personal items after we are gone from this earth, most likely will not care. So I have decided to save them from this task and not take photos or make scrapbooks.

When attending family reunions, class gatherings or on vacations, often photographers take group shots and then sell them to the participants. We always avoid purchasing them. We tell those who ask why we don't purchase them, that because we have no living children, they would just gather dust and someday be disposed of, so why bother. It usually makes the questioner do a double take and then apologize for asking, forgetting that our only child is deceased.

The word 'pictures' has a totally different meaning for parents with no surviving children. Photos of our child are our most prized possessions, but photos after our child/children are deceased have very little meaning for us.

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