Recently, I visited with a young family who had lost their mother to a sudden illness. On the mantle in the living room, there was a huge portrait of the lady, smiling down at all of us. In the foyer, another large portrait greeted us on our exit, always smiling and serving as a reminder of what could have been. It is a common sight in so many homes – photographs of relatives and loved ones adorn the walls. Each one of those photos tell a story, but how often do the inhabitants of the house pause to reflect on them? Not too often, I hope.
I have always felt that indulging in nostalgia is an exercise in futility. Not that I do am not guilty of that indulgence. Invariably, we capture moments of happiness and that of people smiling into the camera. We bring our best side through for photographs. I find that the remembrances of a past trip is condensed into the pictures that were captured. Over time, memory of the trip remains, but images from the trip are refreshed through the photos. And there in, also lies the problem. The experiences of a journey are more than just photos. They are made up of conversations, the joy of seeing the destination for the first time, the agonizing wait at so many places and just being there. When I look at the pictures of a recent trip far too often, I am unable to move past it and look forward. The mind keeps returning to the place and the experiences there. If every day is a gift, then I lose out on the gift when I reminisce in the past.
How long does one grieve for the death of a near and dear one? When do we move on? Left to me, I would opt for no photos of those that have passed away in any prominent place in the house. It is no disrespect to those that are responsible for us being where we are, not having their photographs. The more we look at the eyes of the people that have meant so much to us and are no longer with us, the more we miss them. We are reminded of them time and again, even when there is something more pressing to be done, at hand. To make an effort to live the life that is given to us, is what we owe those that have passed away. Their words and how they made us feel will remain with us for a long time.
Photos on the wall gather dust
Moving on is a must
Living today is what we owe
To those, past and present, that we love