As I returned home in the early morning hours I was able to watch the sun rise over Chicago. I think the skyline there is a personal favorite of mine. I’ve learned to love those beautiful buildings with all of their amazing architecture, since my husband has made a hobby of researching and studying city skylines and skyscrapers. It’s not something I would have been inclined to, having not grown up around cities myself. Isn’t it beautiful how loving another person can expand our personal base of interests?
I spent last week in the throes of planning last minute travel after the sudden passing of my grandfather. It was a tough week overall. Beyond the difficulty of the travel itself (roughly 28 hours of travel by plane and car in a 47 hour period), the emotion of dealing with the passing of a loved one whom you know has had tremendous influence on your life is almost overwhelmed by the finality of having your last living grandparent leave this world.
The finality of knowing that the places that hold so many of your childhood memories will no longer be there when you next return.
I found myself feeling sadness, yes, but more a renewed sense of wanting to make my own mark in the lives of those that I love.
A renewed desire to document our lives.
You see, one of the things that we sifted through in the basement of my grandparent’s home was piles, and piles of diaries and scrapbooks from my grandmother.
In a time when not many people took the expense and care, she did. Newspaper clipping, birth certificates, and photos, all organized into books by family. Not complete by any means. But there.
And of all the things in the home, the family stood over these the most. Recalling names of people, places, and events. There was so much history there. I heard about threshing bees, and barn dances, and saw the daily lives of my family members from generations past, along with the lives of my father, aunts, and uncles.
My grandmother may not have been a very loving person – she endured a lot of hard things in her life. But she did give us a gift that all of us will always cherish. It’s ironic that we didn’t take the time to go through things until my grandfather passed, as well. I guess we were more focused on making sure he was ok than anything else.
So, all that to say, expect a renewed focus on documenting our lives. I’ll be pulling out my camera more. And carrying it with me. And not giving a damn whether I look like a tourist. These are my memories – OUR memories. And they will be printed, and documented, and not left to molder on a computer hard drive or camera memory card.
Because that’s what it’s all about. And I can’t wait to renew that journey.