My father passed away unexpectedly at the beginning of November 2021. He had some severe health issues and we knew he was living on borrowed time, we just didn’t know how short that time was.
While preparing for my father’s memorial and eulogy, our entire family searched for photos to share and use as a tribute to his life. My mother searched through her photo and wedding albums and found some beautiful photos of my father as a young man.
These were photos of him when he first came to the United States, their wedding, and when my sister and I were born. My mother had it easy to find those photos, my sister and me? Not so easy.
I realized that all our photos live online or on some backup device. It’s hard to troll through Facebook and by accident, and I mean really by accident, I found a wonderful family photo from Christmas 2019.
That was the last time our small family was together for a family gathering. As I printed that photo out I scolded myself that I should’ve printed that photo out before. As I pasted it onto the white paper board I scolded myself again that I should’ve made a second copy of it and framed it.
My son and daughter helped paste the images on boards and created a collage of their grandfather’s life. My mother cried when she saw the photos of my father that we snapped but never printed out.
It was at that moment that I realized what a travesty it is not to print out photos. It’s an affront to your family and all the loved ones in your life not to make a physical reminder of your time together.
Is this not what we do with lovers and cherished people in our life? Make reminders of our time together? Reminders of love for one another?
Why have I become so dismissive of this simple act? Why have we, as a society, chosen to share our lives on social media only to have them buried in a timeline?
Why don’t we print out those photos of us with friends, lovers, and parents? Why don’t we print out every single silly photo of us laughing, when we were young and wild?
Why don’t make tangible, tactile, and physical reminders of a time that was slowed for just that instant? When we were in states of ecstasy and happiness?
I don’t know why we don’t but I dare us to do so again. I dare us to print out our photos and put the best ones in a frame or album, and then give them away.
My partner and I hosted Christmas dinner this year, after skipping it in 2020 due to Covid19 fears. My sister and her family couldn’t make it but we gathered again and we took a family photo.
I printed it out and put it in a frame, right next to the Christmas family photo in 2019, when everyone was alive and happy. I see smiles across everyone’s face and I am reminded of that evening.
I can hold that picture frame a look at my father one more time when he was in better health, and with life in his eyes.
Print your photos out. It’s the only way to hold onto your time.