I recently had some old negatives scanned... about three years' worth -- all my photos taken between about 1997 through 2000. And this weekend, I've been uploading the photos from the CD to my computer & organizing the photos into folders. It's been a bittersweet experience, looking through them all and reliving the past -- in particular, 1998 -- the year of my lost pregnancy, as well as the death of my beloved grandfather. I wonder again why I took so few photos of my pregnancy, but then I remember the uncertainty and anxiety I went through. I guess photos were the last thing on my mind then.
Tomorrow marks 13 years since my grandmother died, and next week, it will be 14 years since my grandfather died, just days after I returned to work after Katie's stillbirth in August. Ever since then, October has always felt a bit melancholy for me. I love the fall colours -- I don't miss the summer humidity and extreme heat -- but there is a chill in the air, and I know that winter will soon be here.
I can pinpoint the exact photos that are the last ones I took of my grandfather and grandmother. My grandmother is sitting in a chair in my mother's living room, a few days before I returned home and about two months before she died. She was a little lost, that last year she spent without my grandfather (after more than 65 years together, since they were teenagers), but in that final photo, she is smiling at me and looks like the Grandma I remember, the way I want to remember her. I am glad that's the last image I have of her. I want to get it framed.
There are photos of our nephews as sweet little boys -- and of cousin/neighbour's two little girls, now grown young women -- birthday parties and picnics, a waterpark outing in September 1998 (with me still wearing maternity clothes). And once again, I wondered, sadly, how and why our families drifted so far apart. Once, I considered them the nieces we didn't have; today, they are like strangers. I am sad for all the years we have missed that we could have enjoyed together.
And yet I am thankful for the time that we did spend together and the fun we had and the spoiling I got to do and the photos I got to take when they were little. It seems like another life altogether -- a lifetime ago, certainly, but it was real, and I have the photos to prove it.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and this past week, I posted one of those memes that go around on Facebook occasionally. It ends "In memory of all lost angels" and I added, "and especially our beautiful daughter, Katie." A couple of my FB friends picked it up, including a few of dh's cousins, and some of them even mentioned Katie at the end.
What really floored me, though (& had me in tears), was when dh's cousin's son put it on HIS wall, with a nod to "and especially my cousin Katie." You see, he was born in April 1998, exactly six months before Katie's due date. He is just 14 years old himself. I didn't even think he knew about our baby, let alone her name (although, being my FB "friend," he has probably seen my occasional references to her). To say he made my day would be an understatement. Among the scanned negatives I got back were a few from his mom's baby shower, just a few weeks before he was born. I'm not in any of the photos, sadly, but I remember being there, newly pregnant myself, happy and excited.
This weekend is Thanksgiving here in Canada. As usual, we're at loose ends... BIL invited us to their family dinner with his inlaws, but his MIL just got home from surgery and dh & I have both had bad colds this week. It's easy to feel sorry for myself (especially when my parents Skyped me tonight just after their own dinner with my sister and aunts -- I can practically smell Mom's fabulous stuffing through the computer screen).
But the truth is, I am one very lucky girl, and there is so very much to be thankful for. (Even if it's not always apparent when I blog, lol.)