For over twenty years, a wall of family photos compliment the staircase to our family home. And one photo scares me as I watch it changing….as I watch three people in the photo keep fading away. My father, Mother and myself taken over 50 +years ago.
Dad passed away two years after the picture was taken and Mother passed away 16 years ago. Me at 10 years old, was ready to party in one of my best dresses. Today, I don’t run as fast up and down the stairs. I spend more time staring at pictures from the past.
I remember the moment well when the picture was taken. It was a celebration for a new gift. We were all going out to dinner on Easter. My fathers closest friend just got his first color Polaroid camera and he couldn’t wait to take a family photo of us. We didn’t have many stills since my father had a movie camera and somebody was usually left out.
Yesterday, I walked down the stairs and noticed how much color had drained and even our facial features had faded…strange, how mine were probably the most prominent. I was the only one still alive? And I had less years in front of me than behind. Does this picture define our earthly existence? How creepy, sad….should I take it down or restore the colors of that evening that I still remembered so perfectly?
Even the picture I took with my cell phone for this article is fuzzy. Is that a coincidence as I think and write of faded photographs, a bad photographer with a poor camera, or a spiritual answer to my questions.
Later that day, I heard one of my Mother’s favorite songs by the Vogues, Turn Around Look at Me, and if you listen to the words, there is someone who will stand beside you. There is someone who will love and guide you and most importantly, waiting forever for you .
And suddenly, it hit me. For some, a message from God or the spirit of a loved one. The past is the past and memory, pictures, scrapbooks will deteriorate with time but the love expressed in a painting or photo will live on now in this world and the next. In this case, a family that loved each other and a reminder from heaven that true love never dies. I will see them again in new color, image and light. And maybe, just maybe I should be more concerned about right now.
As I gazed at the wall again, I thought that maybe I would create a new element to the staircase. Maybe some of my primitive paintings I am trying to master today would be a creative addition or my daughter and significant other’s current sketches. I will check my computer pictures and cell phone gallery for the latest in family, friends, birthdays, and holidays.
And I am going to leave the first color Polaroid just as it is.