These last couple of weeks have been pretty rough.
My husband's grandfather went in to the hospital unexpectedly. It was a big scare, but we were very excited when he got released to go home.
The afternoon following he was sent right back.
After hearing he had suffered from a stroke we were later happy to hear he would be allowed to leave the hospital and go to a home for recovery.
When I was 7 my mom and I went to visit my great grandmother in a home nearly every day for almost a full year until she passed away.
Being younger, my mom had warned me it was a place that would be full of things I wasn't used to, but to not be scared. We quickly got used to all the people there, understood who they were, their own little things that they did, and a lot of stories we gained from going there still stick with us to this day that make us smile.
Being young, you walk in to a place like that and accept those people for who they are at that very moment.
I went back in to a similar care facility just yesterday to visit my husband's grandfather and the experience was so different.
You would think being older you would have a better grasp on reality, and that would help.
Reality is actually what hurt the most.
As my husband and I sat and talked to his grandparents (who by the way, is appearing to be doing slightly better and is really giving the nurses a run for their money- he's quite the rebel there) I also overheard a little lady, sitting just at the end of the table from us, say over and over again to herself, "I want to go home, I want to go home."
This morning I was telling my mom about it, and as I cried telling her, we talked about how the worst part is, is they used to be so full of life. They had dreams, they had fun.
And that's what I missed when I was 7. Those people weren't always those people. This exact moment that they are in is not what they have worked so hard for. That little lady who kept yelling she needed help to an empty room, I can only imagine, never assumed that this moment is what she was getting up and working towards every day.
I'm sorry, but I'm going to be honest. That flat out sucks. It sucks, it's scary, and it's the truth.
So am I writing to go on and on about how cruel life can be? No.
I'm writing to tell you to make your life count. Now. While you are still at your own home, while your loved ones are still there to help you do it, while you are still capable of making memories for yourself that you can cherish.
I just had a conversation with a client the other day, and we spoke about how, yes, she was getting portraits for now, but she was also getting portraits for her kids to keep, for her grandchildren to keep, and to have something to pass down.
All too often people get wrapped up in the NOW. Right now my kids are misbehaving and this session isn't going to be my dream session. I need to get that disc from you now bc I want to get prints from the local store right now to pass out. I don't really care about an album to have to store, right now I don't have room for it.
So you buy that disc, that in 15 years, you won't be able to use on ANY device, just like your cassettes, just like your soon to be DVDs, bc man just will not stop pushing the newest and coolest things at you.
So you buy that 4x6 that gets crushed in the drawer bc that currently is your storage system.
So you skip out on your session bc your kids aren't at "the right age" and miss that time in your life all together.
Think about WHO you are, WHAT you are about. Think about your family, and who they will be and how they will SO want to know about who you were 50 years from now.
I LOVE looking through the huge box of pictures that my grandma has. And you know what's so cool about that box? Those prints never go out of date. They will forever be able to be viewed by people who can't wait to hear the story behind them (people ask why I don't just sell a disc, this is why!) No disc can tell me the names of the faces, the story of that time, only the time you make to get that box out, over a cup of coffee and sweets can answer those questions.
Above is a print of my great aunt holding my grandpa on their family farm. I snatched it one day from my grandmas. She probably doesn't even know I have it, but I think it's the coolest thing and I'm so thankful someone took the time to capture this exact moment, bc if not, it would never now be a part of my life too, nearly 85 years later.
In the end, all we have to really love and hold on to are memories. That's it. We get stripped of our homes, our money, our cars, our clothes, our jobs, and our titles until we are nothing more than who we are.
Make sure you make time to capture your life every so often, to share with your family as you grow, so they know exactly who you are, who you were, and what your story was, bc as we grow old, even our own memories fade, even if we try to fight it, and you too may even need a visual to remind you of what once was.