When you have photos of someone who has passed
I never really know what to do when death comes knocking on someone’s door I know. I don’t know if anyone truly knows the right thing to do at times like that. Each situation is so different.
We want to help, hug, feed, cry, console, scream and do so many other things for the grieving people whose lives have been permanently altered. Sometimes it’s so overwhelming that we just freeze up. We don’t want to say or do the wrong thing. It can be even more difficult when the person who has left us is very close to our hearts. It hurts more and makes you even less able to figure out what to do. It’s such a helpless feeling!
I feel this helplessness more acutely when I’ve taken photos of the one who has passed. As a photographer, it’s my job to document the things people do, who they are, and how they live. I’m given the opportunity to become a part of that person’s life in a permanent way. I’m allowed into the center of their life, even if for only a brief moment, to capture something they wanted to have remembered. It’s an honor and a privilege.
But after that life has left this world, they become painful to look at. I want to reach inside the images and pull them back out. I want to rewind time back to when the photos were being taken and spend that time with them again. I feel like I’ve captured a part of their soul, and I want to give it back. I want to print the images, share them, send them to their family and friends, but I also I want to forget I even have them. Ignore them so I don’t have to know that I knew them when they were so vibrant and alive. It’s conflicting.
What would you want to be done with the photos? Would you want to see the photos again? Would it be more hurtful to see them, or more helpful to see them? I’m sure both of those feelings will be there depending upon when they are looked at. Then I remind myself of why we took the photos in the first place. It was because they wanted to capture a memory. A memory they could look at in the future and reminisce about. A memory that they could share with others. A memory that will still be there when they are gone. A memory of the soul that was once here, and is now elsewhere.
They had that photo created because they wanted to be remembered. So use it, and remember.