My grandfather passed away peacefully early Tuesday morning as he was surrounded by family.
Preparations are being made for the wake on Thursday evening and the funeral on Friday. As part of the preparations, each family is making their own photo board. Because my sister and I have at least 10 packed photo albums each, and because I clearly love photographs, I made a board for my sister and I alone.
As I set down in my basement tonight and looked through album after album, spanning my entire 27 years of life, I marveled at the memories that I forgot until I looked again at the photos. Even little things, like the hilarious outfit I wore on the first day of kindergarten, or that I truly loved my fanny pack and wore it everywhere.
How would I remember these things without these photos?
As I selected photos to put on the board, the importance of these photos weighed heavily on me. Without these, my memories of this amazing man would begin to fade. No matter how hard I tried to hold on to his mental memory, I would eventually fail to remember his face and forget what he looked like. I would forget about trips I took when I was little, and I wouldn't remember Grandpa's straw hat that he loved so much. The things I would try so hard to remember would inevitably fade away.
But because of these photographs, I will NEVER forget those things. I can continue to revisit them until I am 90, remembering and refreshing my memory each time. I can keep Grandpa's face fresh in my mind, which helps keep his memory alive in my heart.
Modern technology is amazing. Digital photography is incredible and convenient and powerful.
But guys, if your photos sit on your computer and your computer dies, then what? Even if you back them up on a hard drive, what if the future's computers can't read those hard drives...
We NEED to print our photos. We need to get them out of the depths of our computers, phones and iPads, and get them printed and into books or albums. We need to get them out of the vault of technology and make them accessible to look at, no matter what decade we are in.
I haven't printed personal photos for at least a year. This experience of making this photo board was a kick in the pants for me to practice what I preach. "Print My Photos" is moving up to the top of my to-do list, once the funeral is over this week.
We need to print our photos. Our memories deeply depend on it.
Thank you to everyone who offered up your prayers for my family and for my Grandpa. We felt your prayers, and he did too. He was covered in prayer, compassion, and love in his last days. He felt it.
I ask for your continued prayers for my family, and especially my Grandma, as we all adjust to a life without Grandpa physically in it. Grandma and Grandpa have been married 58 years, so it's been a long, long time since Grandma was on her own. The next few months will be a roller coaster through grief, for all of us.