For several days I have been scanning old photos, slides and negatives so that I can store them on my computer. I must have done over a thousand by now and even then I have decided against doing some of them purely because they are of places that I have never visited. Some, especially from the seventies and eighties have deteriorated quite a bit and, despite my photo editing efforts, are not exactly worthy of display. There is something to be said for today's digital cameras! However, it has been an interesting process, but not from a practical point of view; it is more a case of looking at oneself.
When you are of an age (60+) where you have a head full of memories it is sometimes difficult to sift through them all and well, err 'remember' due to there being so much clutter. What this photo scanning has done, apart from getting them organised at last, is to take me on a journey of the past. It was like being led by a tour guide around some historic town and being allowed all the time I needed when reaching something interesting.
Most interesting were all the ones of my late wife while on holiday or when we were at some special event. Since her death I have, naturally, thought of her often, but usually the more prominent memories which occur on a regular basis. The photos have brought out the deep rooted ones that I haven't had a chance to relive since the day she died.
Was I tearful? No, because I think I shed all the tears I had in me the day after she died - Christmas Day. No, I was just a little sad and yet at the same time happy as I was able to relive each moment that we had together.
As I looked at the ones of our two children growing up I pondered on how little we knew at the time about what their futures would have in store for them. Our daughter, Melanie, developed a congenital heart desease and had a heart transplant at 13 years old. Our son, Matthew, was infected by a flesh eating super bug, as an adult and was on the verge of death when it got to within 1mm of his jugular vein. He survived, thanks to some brilliant surgeons, but it meant continually cutting away flesh and tissue from his neck and chest.
All this brings me to 'Faith'. At a period when there were a lot of events concerning health in my family, someone (who happened to be an atheist) asked me "Tell me, How do you keep going? Is it your Faith?" To which I replied straight away "Yes". The reason Faith means so much is because it came to us rather than we sought it out and I am talking about 'Faith' as opposed to a 'religion'. It still keeps me going and will never waver or faulter.
I remember one incident at Harefield Hospital soon after Melanie had had her transplant. It turned out that the nurses were a bit miffed at us because we had not reacted the same as other parents had after the operation (In other words, burst into tears, panic or what ever). When I explained to them that it was down to two things and that we did actually love our child and cared for her very much, things changed.
Firstly, she had been on the waiting list for two years. During that time, we had vowed never to show our inner fears to Melanie and always portrayed an air of hope and optimism. We couldn't suddenly switch it off overnight because of the operation. Secondly, we had a deep faith and knew it was in God's hands; that whatever would be, would be and we trusted him. Maybe, if we had started being evangelical around the place they'd have realised, but then we'd have been treated as a pain in the butt instead. Anyway, as I said before, it is about faith and not religion.
What of the other photos? The ones of relatives and friends. Well, the ones that made me ponder were those of people I no longer associate with - or wish to (yes, one or two relatives). There is a whole history of their children growing up and so on. There are photos that I know they do not have and, if I sent them copies, would be greatly treasured. By the same token, I have no doubt that they have photos that I would like also. For once, I found myself mellowing and considering the possibility of just sending them copies. However, I have decided against it. I reckon that they will see it as a sign that I want to associate with them again (which I don't).
I wonder how many millions of treasured photos are lost because people, like me, don't want to 'associate' again?