Friday, November 12th the world lost a very special lady… my dear Grandmother, Patricia Kjellberg. ♥
My Grandmother was a wonderful woman… caring, giving, beautiful, classy, and more than anything hilarious. She had a sense of humor like no one else I have ever met and was so quick to come up with her little quips. I like to say that humor skipped a generation with me (I have no sense of humor whatsoever… ) but I sure hope my daughter caught that one, because my Mom’s family is very special and so fun to be around.
At the family meeting yesterday to prepare for the funeral services I was tasked with gathering photographs of my Grandma and putting together some photo boards. I wanted to also post some photos on Facebook of Grandma Pat, so I set out to start sorting through the thousands of photos I have scanned and my own personal photos. A few months ago I had taken all my Grandma’s photos and started scanning them, so there are many. But as I started going through them, I noticed immediately that there are very, very few of my Grandma. You see, my Grandma didn’t like to have her photo taken. She was often self-conscious of her weight or her appearance, and would shy away from photos in general. Yet she was always the one smiling, laughing, and lighting up the room. She was often wearing silly Irish hats or outfits, would dress up on Halloween, and was always the life of the party. I remember so many things about her, and they were all of her with a smile on her face. She rarely was without one. But can I find photos of them? No.
Just a couple weeks ago I had proposed to my Grandma that I bring over one of my portable backdrops and take new photos of her and Grandpa that she could give for Christmas presents. Both Grandpa and Grandma thought that was a great idea. I told her when she had a good day and felt up to getting herself all gussied up, I would rush right over and take the photos – anytime. On Wednesday when I softly reminded her, she put her hands together as if on a posing table or my Grandpa’s shoulder, tilted her head and gave me a big “cheesy” smile. She laughed and promised we would do it very soon. She had been doing really well and just hadn’t gotten around to it, and I didn’t see any need to push it… I had plenty of time. But Thursday morning she fell in the bathroom, and Friday night she passed away within hours of my daughter and myself visiting her at the hospital.
Yesterday my Grandpa softly said to me, “You never did get to take those pictures.”
You see, there is never a good time, never the right time, to save those moments. I skipped so many opportunities to take photos of my Grandma the past couple years while she was slowly slipping away because I knew she didn’t want me to, and I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable. But now I wish I would have explained to her why I wanted them and made a point of it.
Basically I have 3 photos of her with my 2-year old daughter – the day I took her home (we went to visit Grandma in the hospital), a 4-generation photo in the living room when she was a few months old, and a photo of my daughter with Grandma the one day she was well enough to come sit outside on the patio. You see, my daughter has spent some sort of time nearly every day with my Grandma since she was born. She was her best buddy and they loved each other so much. Yet at only 2 years old, one of the hardest parts of this whole situation is knowing that she won’t remember her and the time they spent together, or how much my Grandma adored her. In fact, her very last words were to my daughter, “You Doll.” The only way my daughter will know my Grandma at all is through photographs. So many days passed and so many opportunities. And now I don’t get another chance.
I’m the first one to admit that I’m that way. I’m very self conscious about having my photo taken and I’m much more comfortable behind the camera, instead of in front of it. But I do make an effort to take lots of photos with my daughter. I think it’s really important for her to have those many years from now to look back on just as I so enjoy looking at my family photos.
So I guess I’m saying this to myself as well as you. Don’t shy away from the camera… your family and those who care about you love you exactly the way you are. Take time and make a point to pose with your family on a regular basis, whether it’s at Thanksgiving or scheduling a planned photo session. Try to have a photo session at least every year. Hang those photos proudly in your home. Photos are so important – SO IMPORTANT – to those who love you. You never know when it will be too late. Don’t pass up your chances – any of them.