Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Two Lives Unfold

I've heard so many people who have lost parents describe it as a roller coaster ride.  I've had a similar feeling often during the last few weeks.  On the one hand, this is how it's supposed to go.  A parent is older, it's inevitable that at some point you will be faced with this.  If the parent was sick or suffering, then that release from the pain is a comfort, but they're your family, so you still miss them.  And so on.  Then, of course, there's all the incumbent work that comes after the death to close down a long life.  Memories come flooding back, some good - hopefully most good - some maybe less good, but still part of the fabric that makes up one's life.  Nothing brings all of that home more than going through old photographs.  I have only just scratched the surface; Mother kept everything, but she kept it in no particular order, so every box I open is a surprise, but I have run the gamut of emotions in just the cursory examination I've been able to give them.  I've marveled, I've laughed, I've cried (often), and I've cringed (very often) when I realized that we actually not only were seen in public wearing some of those outfits, but thought we could be photographed in them!  I thought I would share some of what I have found so far as a little mini-journey through the lives of my parents.

Where are the pictures of me, you ask?  Oh, just wait, I'll entertain everyone with some, I am sure.  For now, let it suffice to say that I have made the realization that the primary difference between the photos you have of yourself and those your parents have of you is this:  you tend to edit the ones you keep of yourself.  They're the most flattering or they are at least funny if they are not flattering.  Your parents, who love you generally no matter what, keep all the photos, no matter what you look like.  Theirs are therefore the more realistic account of how you really looked during your youth.  And let me just say that some of the outfits I remember because I thought I looked pretty good in them...yeah, well, I didn't!

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