All day today I’ve been sorting through pictures. It doesn’t have to be such a slow process I suppose, but when you figure in all the distractions and the day dreaming and the mystery solving that goes along with it, one day won’t bring me even remotely close to getting it done.
I know I’ve mentioned mom’s photo albums before, and how there never seemed to be any rhyme or reason to their contents. Her plan was to make each one a variety, so that no matter which one a person ended up with, it would have a little bit about a lot of things spanning many, many years. So on a typical two page spread I could see myself and a grandchild both at the age of six, along with a sepia colored family group of obscure ancestors from the 1800’s and perhaps a smiling neighbor or an unknown dog or somebody’s cute little kids or even the inside of a motel room from some trip that somebody took, sometime, somewhere. That’s all fun and interesting I guess, unless you’re looking for something specific. My own photo albums are all painstakingly labled and numbered and in at least some semblence of chronological order. So while I was helping my sister sort through things last week I went through every one of mom’s albums and took out only the pictures I wanted and we scanned them and stuffed them in a box and I brought them home. And now I don’t know what to do with them.
Mom spent a lot of time making up those albums and we’ve ended up messing them all up and taking them apart. If I spend a lot of time making up albums for my kids, maybe they’ll end up doing the exact same thing. Heaven forbid they should miss out on all the photo sorting fun that appears to run in our family.
So my latest brilliant idea is to put all these pictures I’ve brought home in some kind of VAGUE chronological order in one photo album that I’ll call “Grandma and Grandpa McArthur’s Pictures”. And when the time comes, my kids can do exactly what I’ve done – go through them and take what they want. And probably shake their heads at my lack of organizational skills.
So, that was a ridiculously long preamble getting to my point, which is that now I have a whole bunch more blog material further boggling up my already boggled mind. Which leads me to picture number one, so numbered because at this moment it’s on top of a pile.
It was taken in April of 2005. My sister-in-law Joe, me, mom, dad and neice Alison at the Care Centre eating what appears to be Chinese take out. I don’t remember this exact time, but I do remember how much mom and dad enjoyed a change from their dining room meals, and how much they loved to have company. I’m sure it’s my sister taking the picture, and I’m sure she’s the one who made the dinner arrangements.
It’s a peaceful feeling knowing our parents were well cared for there. They knew many of the other residents, even if their stays were short, and almost all of the care givers, if only in relation to who’s ‘kids’ they were. And almost every care giver I met there had lovely things to say about them. They were very lucky to share a room, considering that some couples end up apart, and sometimes even in different facilities. And they were blessed to spend their last years together with so many family members and friends close by and always looking in on them.
I don’t know about everyone else, but the last five years have made me wonder about my own circumstances, should I live such a long life and ever reach the point of needing constant care. I hope to have a few brain cells left and be able to recall how accepting my parents were of every situation they faced and to be serene and gracious and loving to the end. And to leave all my pictures in good hands.