The case for living commemoration

Have you ever put together a compilation of photographs for somebody to commemorate their life? A scrapbook, a slideshow, video? You know the ones where you put together a chronology of their accomplishments and special moments in their life. These are usually done at retirement parties or funerals.

The last funeral that we attended was for my husband‘s father. There was quite a long video done of his life. It was beautiful and a great tribute to him. But I wish that instead of waiting for him to be gone that something like that had been done for him while he was here and we could show him how much we appreciated him.

A while back my son and I got together and made a couple of slideshow videos to music. One we made for my husband. It was a video of photographs of me throughout our relationship to the tune of one of his favourite song. The other was photographs of the two of us again to a favourite song. A kind of love language in photos and music. And they are beautiful.

Now I’m starting a collection of photos of my husband to make one for him. To show him all of his special moments.

It may not surprise anyone that as somebody who likes to take alot of pictures, the most important photos that I take are those of my family in every day moments. There is no moment of the day that is off-limits. I do love life’s moments like Santa pictures or the Easter bunny hunt or the birthdays or the adoption anniversary. But It’s the little things that I like to capture the most. Sleeping children, snuggling, reading, wrestling, climbing a tree. It’s all worthy of remembering.

As my son and I have been collecting the photographs, he made a comment that there are certainly a lot of pictures of dad “doing nothing”. I smiled at this. My Mister is a ham. He is Mr. funny, Mr. loud, Mr. look at me. He loves to be the life of the household. And he makes his presence known.

I have been photographing him over the years in many different situations. We take a lot of selfie‘s together. And when the cameras turned on him it’s like a director has called action and he puts on a show. Those pictures are fun and silly. But the pictures that my son calls “doing nothing” are actually my favourite photos of all. Because it shows him truly as he is. He’s not doing nothing he is just being.

Since we met when Mister was 21 and he is now about to be 60 (sorry Mister but yes I outed your age) it goes without saying that he will have changed quite a bit. He had some hair when we first met but he was already starting to bald and now he has such little hair that he blades every morning. His face shows the experience of a well seasoned man. Our children call the lines on his forehead his “train tracks”. He’s grown a little shorter but he would not like you to think that. He’s not as fast as he used to be but he is still energetic. And of course he is still the life of our family.

Where did the time go? And his hair

Every now and then I snap a photo of him just because. He wants to look at the camera and smile and make a face but I won’t let him. I tell him I want you in your natural habitat. Which apparently he thinks is when he’s being lively and crazy.

Just last night I was turning out the lights to go to sleep and he was still reading something on his phone and the light in the darkness shining on him had me grab my phone and snap a picture.“Doing nothing“ is my idea of life captured as it is in simple beautiful ways.

We parents marvel at the changes in our children as they grow. We look back at their baby pictures and wonder where did the time go. But children are not the only ones that change. we grown-ups do also. And when children come along we tend to forget to capture the adults.

The pictures taken in the moments that take your breath away will later remind you of the small things that make you love each other. I can’t capture a picture of him snoring or clapping really loud or his goofy dance that reminds me of something Elaine from Seinfeld would do. And I wouldn’t anyway because those things annoy me. But moments like him standing looking at a view or lying in the bed reading his phone or reading quietly to the children. Those are the moments that I love to capture. Because in those moments I’m looking at him and feeling great love for the wonderful man that he is. Later when I look back at the photographs I am reminded of how much I love him. Because people you can’t always love everybody all of the time. OK you still love them, but you might not like them. After 34 years of marriage I’ve learned a thing or two about like in love.

I say put together the slideshow’s now. Make a scrapbook. Do a collection of the life of the person that you love so dearly.

Those pictures of your spouse from five years, 10 years, 25 years ago, you look back at those with fondness and great memory. The photos you take today are the memories of years from now. Don’t let this time slide by without capturing and celebrating the one you love.

Margaret S. Morton

Margaret S. Morton

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