Monday, January 17, 2011

These Old Pictures

While visiting my Grandma for Christmas she gave me a disk of old pictures. A friend of hers took all the slides and photographs my Grandpa had taken all those years when he was a young father and converted them to a digital format. For some reason or another I forgot about the disk until this Sunday at which point I devoured them and took in every last detail.

I don't write much about my dad here. I did it once a couple years back and I think I said everything I wanted to say there. But my lack of mention isn't for lack of remembering. It's so the opposite. He lives and breathes within me so deeply that to write about him so much would be akin to writing about the water I drink. It doesn't occur to me to mention it because it's just my life. Plain and simple.

But looking at these pictures I felt so many emotions.  I felt haunted.  I felt haunted by this boy who lived. He lived to be a man.  A husband.  A father.  But it all ended so quickly.

I look at these pictures and I feel like a fortuneteller.  Knowing how it's all going to play out.  Knowing how it's all going to end.
He's just a baby here. I want to squeeze his fat cheeks.  And hear his giggle.  And cuddle him close.

I want to whisper in his ear.  I want to tell him his life will end painfully short.  But before that he will live an extraordinary life.  He will create life.  He will create life that will create more life.  All because of him.

The logic complicates me.  He never met my Lucy or my William.  They only know him as "Grandpa Joe who lives in heaven."  But he is a part of them.  If it weren't for him, they wouldn't be here.  But he was gone before they got here.  So, desperately, I try to find traces of him in them to reassure myself that he really did exist.  He's not just a figment of my imagination.

I see the picture above and am astounded.  Is it William's eyes?  I always thought he got them from Brian.  But now I'm not so sure.  Brian's eyes are a different color blue.  William's eyes are the kind of blue you want to jump in and swim.
I can look at these pictures of him at age 8 (perhaps?) and recognize him instantly.  Those freckles.  The ears.  The short hair.  The thin lips and the closed-mouth smile.  The crossed arms.  I see it all.

In my head I see him as a giant superhero of a dad.  And old.  He seemed so old to me.  Age 38.  He's permanently frozen in my mind's eye at age 38.  So I wonder, what will happen when I enter my 30s in a couple of months?  A daughter can't be eight years younger than her father.

And what happens when I turn 40? 50? 60?  How will I remember him then?  Will he seem younger?  Will I seem older?  What happens when my own children enter their 30s?  Do the dead still age?  They can't.  But they must.
Here he is with his brother and mother, who, by the way is looking extremely fashionable, don't you think?  Who has the time to look that good with six kids?  How did she pull it together?

I want to time warp into that picture and tell her, "Don't waste it!  Don't waste this moment!  Parents aren't supposed to bury their children but sometimes it happens and you just never know.  You just never know."

Sometimes I look at pictures of him and I feel sad for myself.  Or angry for the way things are.  Or scared for the possibility of what else life might throw at me.

But mostly I feel happy.  Happy to show his face to his son-in-law and to his grandchildren.  Happy to give them proof that's he's not just some person I mention here and there.  Happy to be able to give them old pictures to go along with his story.  His story which is completely intertwined with their own story.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Copyright © Mama Nash | Custom Blog Design by Lilipop Designs