Sunday, November 11, 2012

On old photographs and memories

I recently read my deceased mother's speech which she gave years ago at a woman's club. I know I must have read it before and I know parts about it, but somehow it seemed all new again and brought fresh tears and heartache as I read it. She was a hell of woman, my mom was. She is one of the true rags to riches stories you read or watch all the time in those television specials. It makes me proud to be her daughter and makes me appreciate more what I have today.

I also keep a green plaid box (since green was her favorite color) where I keep hundreds of her photos. No exaggeration. Whenever there was a camera, she was always ready with a pose and a smile.

Due to the number of photos, I now have a dilemma. I am a sentimental person, but I am also a practical one (cognitive dissonance - thanks, Midnight in Paris). I've been holding on to these photos for so long, and I've also scanned them so I have them in digital form, but I still haven't let go of them. Should I even let go of them? But what if one day my hard drives are wiped? What if there was a sudden Revolution-type event when I don't have a handy photo of my loved ones besides the one on my smartphone or any electronic device? But do I have to keep all of these photos? Am I being too paranoid? 

If I was still living in my old house where there are rooms to spare for storage, this wouldn't even be up for discussion. Now that I am living in barely a 50 sqm condo, it presents a problem. But how can a person bear to part with old photographs and the memories that come with them?

I've been researching this topic, hoping to find someone somewhere to tell me what to keep and what to throw away.

The thing I have semi-decided on was making a scrapbook of some sort. I don't want to call it a scrapbook, but more of a book-book. A memorial book? Or maybe that is all the same thing. But whatever. I am making a book. I plan on filling it with my favorite pictures of her, little snippets from her speech, and maybe some of her handwritten notes. Maybe I'll have it professionally printed in one of those glossy photo books that it'll look like a coffee table book that anyone can browse through without going through boxes of her stuff. Then most of the stuff, I'll probably throw away.

Big project. Huge. At least for me. It's going to be tough physically, mentally, and emotionally to do it. But I do feel that it's the best thing to do. I have to move on, but not without respecting who my mother was. I feel that this book will be a perfect tribute to her and her life and to the wonderful woman she was.

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