Dad and Mom arranged all their pictures in albums in chronological order. That must be why I like to have our family albums that way too. After Mom died, I grabbed four photo albums out of the bedroom closet in her house to make the picture boards for her funeral. Looking through all the pictures brought back a lot of memories. One memory that I cherish is of how I looked through all of these albums over and over again throughout my life. It was a story of our lives together all neatly arranged.
Dad was the photographer and Mom organized the photos. Sometimes she wrote the dates on the back and the names of the people who were in the pictures. A lot of times the photographer doesn’t get to be in a lot of pictures. Luckily Dad let the rest of us practice. Dad was sure to point out any errors that we made when we got the photos back. If someone’s head wasn’t in the picture or if we cut off someone’s legs or feet, he was the first to let us know since it was probably Dad that got cut off in the picture! He patiently gave us pointers of how to improve so that it would hopefully turn out better the next time.
After Mom’s funeral, I went back to that closet, and gathered all the other photo albums. Not only did we have to get the house cleaned out, I thought the story of our albums should all stay together. Not knowing what to do with all the albums, I began to ask others what they did when they were in this situation. One person told me that her family divided all the pictures up after her parents passed away. Her sister-in-law got three boxes, one for each sibling in the family. If a person was in a picture, that picture went in their box. If they didn’t know who the people were, she threw the pictures away. At the end of the project, each sibling got a box of pictures.
I thought how that family handled the photo albums sounded like a good idea at the time. Since I was organizing our own photo albums last night, I thought about all the love and care that goes into taking a picture. We do it all because we want to hold onto the events in our lives so that it will help us remember. All those pictures make up a story and we are the main characters.
Mom and Dad’s photo albums are still waiting, and I am still getting used to the idea of taking them apart to share with my siblings. Now I don’t know if it’s the best way to share our story. Maybe some of you have other ideas that you might want to share here. What would you do?