When thinking that one definition of grief is ‘nowhere to place one’s love’, then I think today’s blog title fits. Mixing grief in what was, while acknowledging joy with what is — offers a common familiarity for many of us.
Recently I decided to organize my pictures. As I went through photographs from baby books to Sunday school picnics to sport’s schedule, in the midst of what seemed like ton’s of family photos, I became aware of seasons of life experiences.
It was enjoyable holding these pictures, thinking about the settings, and looking at everyone’s expressions. When I saw people playing musical instruments, I could hear a song in my head. When I looked at ball fields and hockey rinks, I could hear the excitement of the fans in my memory, cheering the team on. While admiring yearly school pictures of our four children, names of favourite teachers also came to mind. Even looking at pictures of our deceased child (1972) brought happy memories of the fun we shared together as a family for a short time.
So there’s nothing in any of these pictures that would give me new grief, for in each picture I found excitement for life, anticipation in the situation and a sense of all is well. What stirred my tears and quickened my heartbeat was to look into the eyes of my five children, so innocent, dependant and filled with anticipation for life.
As a parent, I always wonder, self examine my parenting skills and think when I’m going through pictures. We began our family young in the late 50s without much money to spare. It was a blessing to realize the trust our children placed in us. We openly responded with unconditional love. With two sets of grandparents, three great grandparents, and lots of cousins, aunts and uncles for the children, love was abundant.
When I look into their eyes as babies, children, teenagers and adults – through the lens of family life, school pictures, music, church and sports, it seems life spun quickly through the years. So for me, the grief is only stirred in my pictures when I recognize the yearning to hold those babies again, while checking parental skills and recognizing that was a season . . . and this is a new one.