Friday, 5 August 2011

Why Don't I Have Photos?

A friend, Viv, stayed with me here in Eagleton just after I arrived back from New Zealand a few months ago.  Viv commented that I had no photos of Andrew on show in the house although I had photos of Gaz.  She wondered why.  The answer is actually quite simple.  We have very few contemporary photos of Andy.  The photo I used to have on the wall of him in his graduation robes was not a photo that he liked and was not one that I liked either.  So eventually I removed it.  Of course I have thousands (with no exaggeration) of him and of Gaz from their birth until they left the nest to go off into the big wide world.  Somehow every time I look at those photos I am overcome with a great sadness and I've never been able to  put them on display.  It doesn't stop me looking at them from time to time, though, as I have already scanned 2,500 photos (only another heaven knows how many tens of thousands still to sift through and scan).  

This evening as I sit in the Study watching the effect of the setting sun on the sea it is hard not to feel emotional and it occurs to me that it's about time I got a grip so here are a few photos of Andrew and of Andrew with Gareth.  Andrew is the elder (and taller!) of the two:


  1. Graham, I can understand why you've not placed them around and how, on some days, they would cause sadness. These are absolutely precious!! I love that last one...being a mother of boys, it tickles my heart.

  2. I hear you never get over the death of a child; you just learn to live with it.

    These are lovely and yes, precious photos of little boys. And they were your boys.... The fact they became men does not take away the wonderful memories these created and the emotion they must create - in your heart and in ours. We can all smile at them with pleasure ... Knowing that one no longer lives makes them even more poignant...

    We know Andrew lives on in the hearts of those who knew and loved him. After reading his blog, I feel sad too.
    I understand why you might not have pictures like this out on display. Memories don't compensate for the fact they are gone. But like a mausoleum we like to revisit the memories occasionally, in our own time, and ponder on how it all was and what might have been.

    Our grief of the past year has affected my daughter badly... thank you for your kind thoughts... I am starting to worry about whether she can find the help and support to overcome it all so that I do not face a future of looking back at photos like these, with only memories.

  3. Thank you Heather.

    Fiona, thank you, too, for your thoughts and words. Knowing and, in part at least I think, understanding what you have gone through I do hope that your daughter finds peace.

  4. In my previous flat, for many years I had a notice board in the hall full of photos of friends and family. When I moved to a new flat three years ago I decided not to put that board or those photos up again, because it struck me that many of the photos were so old that they represented 'the past' rather than my present life. So I put them in an album instead - where I can still look at them whenever I want, but they are no longer on my wall. I imagine I can understand your choice. It's got nothing to do with forgetting the person; it does have something to do with 'getting on with life'.

    The photos you chose for this post here are lovely. That very serious look in his eyes in that first photo... and then the smiling faces in the others. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I think one of the differences between you and I is that I live more in the past and you more in the future. On the whole, I suspect yours is the healthier way to love.

  6. ... or live - as the splleign errorr really meant.

  7. Beautiful boys Graham.
    Your post affects me deeply.

    Scriptor Senex - I think I prefer the 'healthier way to love' version of the sentence.

  8. Love, live... either way, sometimes to do it fully is to feel deeply. And to feel deeply is to feel deeply sad sometimes as well as deeply happy.

    "A life half lived is a life lived in fear."

    My fond regards to you Dear Geeb.

  9. I am just reading your Oct. 2010 post. I can imagine living with the pain of losing one's child because of my sister-in-law whose adult child was murdered. (The same year my husband died- two months apart.) Everyone copes differently. One has to do what works best for one's soul. The photos depict adorable children. On TV shows it's usually spoken of "bringing closure." I wonder what imbecile made up that phrase! I believe that there's no such thing, but mostly one lives through it. Blessings being wished for you.