Saturday, August 13, 2011

Grief is Exhausting

I'm scanning photos today.  It's taken me a full 10 years to manage to do this, not because of time or technology, but because I needed this long to be able to mentally and emotionally do it.

And you know what, it's still not soon enough.

But I'm getting it done.  Because part of me needs to lay it to rest.  Part of me needs to fulfill a promise.  And part of me needs to get this house under control and the box of irreplaceable photos in my family room is not secure and also underfoot.

My parents were married on December 3, 1966.  The photos I'm scanning are from the official photographer's selection book that my Mom had held onto after 20 years, divorce, remarriage and several moves.  I don't know if she was saving them for my sister and I for "someday" or if they were just part of the things that never got cleaned out.  It was after her funeral that my step-Dad opened up the boxes of memories and let us have our pick.

***brief interruption for a good cry and a hug from the Mr.***

I took the wedding photos and promised my sister I'd have copies made for her.  My intentions were to do that while it was all fresh and new...and then Dad got sick and I was busy taking care of him until he died.

After that the next couple of years are really just a hazy blur.  Which makes sense, because lucidly managing that much pain is just not comprehensible to me, even now.  Logically I know that I have a lot more to process but processing takes energy, and often energy I don't have to spare.

Which is why when I take on projects like this, it feels just like the wound being re-opened.  Sometimes when that happens, it's hard to know if it will ever heal, or just have periods of dormancy where I can ignore it.  

I still don't know if losing someone slowly to illness is better or worse than losing them quickly, like in an accident.  I'm still confused as to how my sister can go through that same experience of loss of both parents in such a short time frame and still be okay with turning away from her only sister.  (Although, to be fair, I'm sure she believes that I did the turning away.)  I'm pretty sure that if she had been the one who had the photos I wouldn't get a copy.  I'm just not built like that...even if she doesn't care to have them, even if she doesn't want them because they're from me, I can't in good conscience withhold them.

And so I've been scanning.  Maybe because I want to be the better person.  Or maybe I want to remind her that despite how she feels or acts now, she was part of the family that I was.  And that no matter what choices we make now, that is a fact that can't be changed.

Mostly I think I'm scanning so I don't have to lose the pictures like I lost the people.  At least I have my memories...which I may even manage to write down one day.

One day.

**Edited to add:  But at least now I know why I've been sick for the last week.   It's always like this pre-processing.  I just hadn't had it happen for so long I didn't recognize.  


  1. sighs.. sorry I'm reading this late. I can never imagine what it must be like, what you've traveled through, so I take your word for it, and think about things like 'pre-processing', and how I do it too.
    And stuffing. I'm pretty au fait with that lately.

  2. There is no late, sweetie. :) I appreciate any time you spare for my random thoughts here.

    We all have our better or worse. That said, I wouldn't wish this kind of crap on anyone, much less someone I love, like you. *hugs*

    And stuffing.

  3. It didn't email me to tell me you said that.
    Thank you & hug you too. x