On Monday I was finishing up one of my nephew Sebastian's Christmas presents. He loves getting a box of pictures; be it superheroes, characters from his favourite films and shows or family members, so I printed a bunch off and laminated them all for added longevity and protection. The last bunch of photos I printed were family ones. And as I sat there waiting for them to pass through the laminator, I found myself reminiscing about the specific moments captured in time with these photos.
Of course I included snapshots of my dad in with the lot, and while I was glancing through, it dawned on me that it's going on three years since I last spoke to my dad. While I know in my head what the anniversary is, in my heart at this exact moment while looking at his face, I just didn't feel like that much time had gone by. While I was looking through the photos it felt like I had just seen him...just talked to him. Immediately the contents of that particular night captured in this picture came flooding back. For crying out loud, I remember actual conversations from when that photo was taken. And I think those memories fooled me into feeling like I'd just seen him. I think the candid shots do this to me more than the posed formal photos he sat for do. I'm finding it hard to explain myself with regards to this, I think. But for a few moments, his death was surreal to me again and the dull throbbing, underlying pain of missing him wasn't there, for in my head I just talked to him. We just shared some laughs (we had probably just made fun of someone).
It's taken me this long to realize that these photos, these treasures we all take for granted are keeping my memories of my dad alive....in a sense keeping him alive. I still hear his voice when I look at the pictures. I find it easier, in fact, to hear his voice while I'm looking at the snap shots rather than when I just close my eyes and try to remember. I've decided I'm going to spend more time looking through my photos of my dad. The photos that have captured him in a moment, a moment with a story and a memory behind it.
It's a fitting week to make this discovery, as today is the 64th anniversary of the day he was born. Today my gift to my dad is to think of him and smile. And, to remind you all to get out there and live life and in the process snap a bunch of pictures. Pictures that might make you cringe now, but will make you or someone smile another day. Pictures of the good, the bad and the ugly. The real pictures.