Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words...

One by one I took down the black and white photos
that lined the staircase leading upstairs in my home.
Each family member had a place: 
birth announcements, wedding days, group shots of all my nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, my mom and dad as well as their parents and siblings.
I allowed myself to be present to each photo
and the flood of memories and emotions they stirred.
A picture is indeed worth a thousand unspoken words.

I have been drawn to photos my whole life, asking my mom questions as a child about ancestors as I sifted through the boxes stored in her hope chest.  The curiosity helped me know those I would never meet in this life but who were a part of me.  There was a particular connection I felt to black and white photos and how they captured the shadows, the rawness in the landscape of the person as if I could see them at a depth that I didn't find in color photos.  Some of the photos even scared me as I felt their eyes with an intensity that I simply couldn't contain at the time.

My mom knew I loved the old photos so she generously gifted me with them, making me the keeper of the past.  I treasure them all; but the photo of her father who she absolutely adored marking his high school graduation is one of my favorites because I never met him but she and my dad both would call me Grandpa Budenz because like him, I could talk to anyone and even in childhood pondered life philosophically driving them mad with my incessant questions. 

As I began to take the photos down one by one, I turned on music: The Best of Sheryl Crow singing and bopping around in an effort to keep my heart at play.  When I reached the photos of my wedding day, I lost it sobbing as if my life depended on it.  I was there in the moment that shot was snapped as I time traveled instantly, walking down the aisle to meet my beloved man, John and become his wife.  I could feel the magic and saw his face with tears streaming down his cheeks, overcome with emotions from the enormity of our love.  I cried too as I continued to smile with a joy in knowing we would soon be husband and wife as we wanted our history to read.  The next photo I took down was us kissing after the pronouncement:  Mr. and Mrs. John Edward Threewits.  Ahhhhh...such delight!  We are both grinning as we are lip to lip.  The last one I took down was of us leaning into each other head to shoulder, a familiar position that continues to comfort and hold me.

Even as I attempt to capture the experience, trying to describe all that I was feeling, I know the thousand words that flooded me can't be conveyed as beautifully as the reality of those moments in time.  Yet here I am doing what I must to share, to invite you to enjoy this journey and soak up the magnificence of this life:  past, present and future.


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