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Pictures of my life


swilkinson

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I was looking back on the life I have lead in the past twelve months or so and discovered I have no pictures to look back on and yet I have been a lot of places and done a lot of things. During the last few years with the exception of the two trips overseas I have taken very few photos. I guess it is because I am alone and so I forget to take the camera with me, after all who is going to want to share the photos afterwards? The ones I have on my computer are mostly those of the six grandchildren, sent to me on Facebook or by email that I have downloaded and sometimes passed on to Shirley, my daughter, who is not on Facebook or shared them with my friends who are on my own Facebook page because I am a proud Grandma and those pictures of my grandchildren are precious and I do want my friends to see how much they have grown.

 

Because I have not taken photos regularly I have failed to record some important events, events I have shared with others and some I am only just realizing were precious only to me. Why have I not recorded them as I did when I was the mother of a family or part of a couple? I don't really know except that as a widow I don't feel that what I do is important to any one but me but of course it is, this is my new life, my whole life and I am letting it slip past unrecorded. So I have made a new resolution, I need to record my life in pictures as well as words.The words of course are in my blogs here and on Widowed Village but that does not really record what is happening day by day so maybe I need to start a journal again too.

 

My journaling in the past has never been a success so that is why I blog, but the blog is often more an expression of philosophy rather than a record of events. Sometimes I wonder what that is about, why it is a reflection rather than a record of events. But I guess it is because it is important not to make it too personal, after all a lot of people read it over a period of time and so I don't write the nitty gritty but paint a wider picture of how my life FEELS. Even then I am sure it holds little interest for a lot of people. I am not a caregiver now, I am a widow and have a different kind of life to what I had in those caregiving years. Perhaps on the whole a lonelier one but certainly having little in common with the life I lead when I looked after Ray.

 

One of the disappointments in my life is that as a widow I have no-one to share the details of my life with. Of course I can tell a friend an interesting story about something that has happened to me but only immediate family ask how you have been and what you have been doing and really want to listen to your answer. It is easier to retain memories if you discuss or rehash them with others, so in the main life slips by and I hardly remember what I did day to day. Without memory sharing I find I have not a lot of recorded memories of my own. I might speak to others on the phone or even discuss some things face to face but it is all generalized rather than defined details. I really miss Ray as a listener, involved in the same life, interested in the same people.

 

Very few people really want to see your grandchildren's photos once they stop being cute babies. I note this in several organizations where doting grandmothers pass their phones around and ask : "Have you ever seen anything as cute?" and politeness stops us from saying that the new baby is not as cute as the offspring of our offspring. After all beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And I know other people to whom I relate tales of my grandchildren's doings will not duplicate my pride in them. I have some friends who are interested for a few minutes but I then see them losing interest or looking eager to top my story with one of their own. That's human nature.

 

Today I had a free day, no Saturday excursion with my man friend today as he had some other plans. I went to a local market held in the grounds of a local pub, nothing much of interest to me there but I ran into some of the women from my Craft group who are not the church goers but the women from the community. These women have often included me quite willingly in their outside activities and today was no exception as they invited me to join them for lunch in the hotel's picnic area. The next three hours were good for me, bright company, good conversation, some laughs. I am blessed with my friends and acquaintances, in the fact that so many wonderful people have entered my life and given me permission to enter theirs, that is what makes my life feel worthwhile. Of course it is not one of the things included in the pictures of my life although it should perhaps be.

 

So I think I will try to capture a moment here and there of things that are important to me, sunrises and sunsets, the garden in bloom, the people who I work with and love doing so as well as the changing geography of my area. I must remember to take some photos of my old friends too. Otherwise my kids will have no-one who appears in my photo albums to say: "Who is that???" or "I don't know who this is but she/he and Mum seem to be having fun." because I need them to know that I was with people who cared about me enough to be seen with me at various functions. After all the albums contain plenty of photos of them growing up so maybe they should also contain photos of me growing old.

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Sue, I seldom pull out Ray's old Nikon, I sold all the lenses except the one it originally came with.  But my cell phone gets used daily, I take 99% my photos with it now.... the only calls I get are sales calls.  I do take quite a few pix, although mainly to validate my life to my Facebook friends.

 

But I often think, when the time comes that Ray is gone, will I continue doing so?  I like to post pictures of him out and about, having a good time (if I can get him to smile!) and almost never put anything negative.  A total PR campaign for me. Pix of me are so rare that everyone comments on it.   I think I will pass into anonymity myself when the time comes....there may be nothing left to say at that point.

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Sue.

I used to takes lots of pictures. But not anymore. I do take pictueres of William or the dogs but not of myself. I also wonder what will happen as time goes on. I only use the phone for pictures. I haven't used the camera in along time.

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Ruth, there is a danger that we painted ourselves out of the picture somehow, made ourselves invisible.  I feel like that about my caregiver days.  Maybe sometimes you should hand the camera to one of the family so you are in the picture too. William is important but so are you. And this is your life as well.  I guess it is a caregiver's choice to be the invisible partner sometimes though. I well remember that I wasn't much concerned, especially on the days when I had little time to worry about hair and makeup before I went out. But now when I look back on that time I do think:  "Where are the pictures of me?"

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Sue, another great post, make you think about you are a person too, not just a caregiver.

I am please that you are thinking about taking pictures, yes let your  Grandkids, see you getting older. I have photos of me when I was young and now older. My Grandkids love looking at them., asking me " Grandma you look so different , how old was you". i tell my grandson, it is rude to ask a lady her age lol

 

Yvonne

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