Just take the picture.
Back on September 2, 2018, I really thought that I had finally gotten the hang of the whole blogging thing. I just knew in my heart that I was going to start regularly blogging and sharing what I had photographed. I knew it was going to happen.
That’s not what actually happened though. We were a few months into year 2 of caring for “Grandma Lilly” and life turned to chaos for a while. Let me tell you, while we wouldn’t trade the time we got to spend with her, caring for an elderly relative is not a task for the faint of heart. Things at home were often hectic and messy and there never seemed to be enough time to get everything done that needed to get done, no matter how late I went to bed and early I got up. The task list was never-ending, and I always felt on the verge of failing everyone and everything I was trying to keep alive.
Don’t get me wrong, we had a bit of downtime and long stretches where things went as routinely as they could, but in Mid-September, things took a turn for the worse and never really went “back to normal” again. Unfortunately, on New Year’s Eve, we were told things looked grim, and we spent the first few days of the year by her side at the nursing home.
She got to hit 100, and for her birthday had asked to receive 100 birthday cards, with #233 making it to her before she passed away. (Since, we’ve received 2 more, bringing the total as of this blog post to 235!) She got to fall in love and raise a child and help raise 2 grandsons. She volunteered for the Red Cross during WWII, was the first female postmaster in town, and volunteered for her local church long into her retirement. Really, I only got to know her for the last 6 years of her life, which feels like such an insignificant amount of time when compared to the rest of her life. I got to know her during her coloring and Golden Girls/HGTV marathon phase of her life. I got to enjoy making dinner with her, and later for her. I got to hear stories of pieces of her childhood, and we bonded over a shared love of Plum Island. This wonderful, sweet, caring woman let me tell her about Picasso and we chatted about his blue period while she chose only one color for a page in her favorite coloring book, resulting in a page full of beautiful flowers in every shade of orange...
And through it all, I took pictures of our boring and routine daily life. Because I have been losing people to death since I was 8, and I learned how to cherish the mundane decades ago. This is what our life looked liked for a long time. This is what our normal was. It’s strange trying to make a new “normal” without her. We miss her and don’t know what to do with ourselves in the extra downtime we have. I suspect it will be a while before we start to figure it out, and that’s ok because life is just an endless series of phases in your life that you navigate through. Some help you grow and some remind you to slow down and just take the picture.