Living Memories

When my children were growing up we were never in a position to purchase a video camera. Such an object was considered a luxury that we simply could not afford and by the time our situation changed, it was too late, as the boys were much older and didn’t want a video camera shoved in their faces every time they moved. And I have to admit that neither did I.

My brother, although only two years younger than me, started a family a number of years later and he was eager to, and able to, document the growth of his daughters. Naturally, being a family, that spilled over to my sons.

Last Christmas, my brother presented me with a DVD as a memento of Barry’s life…and his first Christmas in heaven. I was unable to watch the DVD at the time and put it away for another time. On Saturday, the time to watch it came.

I sat in the bedroom and watched it on my laptop (I was supposed to be working). When Gary discovered me hiding away, he grew anxious…concerned that the living memories would upset me. I quickly promised to turn the DVD off if that were to happen.

It didn’t.

For two hours I sat and watched the passing fashions in clothes and hair styles with amusement. I smiled as pets that are no longer with us nosed their way into the spot light, their tails wagging and with their big brown eyes and cute faces. I laughed as a younger version of me moved about looking like a complete drip. And, more importantly, I laughed and smiled at the sight of my gorgeous little boys as they talked, played and interacted with other family members.

We were never well off, but the DVD brought back some memories which proved we always were capable of making our own fun. Here are a couple of photos to prove it. They were taken in my parent’s backyard on Father’s Day in September 1992. We had such fun that day. The looks on our faces in the second photo is priceless.

Father's Day 1992

Father's Day 1992

Parents lose their children early in life. As soon as they reach the teen years, the youngsters are moving away from their parents emotionally and the parents suffer a sense of loss then. This is nature’s way of preparing a family for separation, when the child (now a young adult) moves out of home. I believe this is the reason I was able to watch the DVD without getting upset. I had already dealt with the loss of my little boy, now I have to deal with the loss of the man he had grown into.

Within minutes of watching the DVD, we had a visitor arrive. I stood talking about the images that were fresh in my mind, telling stories to a visitor who actually never met Barry, but the visitor smiled and said I looked happy and it was good to see. In grief, we know when it’s the right time to move forward. We cannot make that move unless we are truly ready. I’m ready to start sifting through Barry’s life and documenting it. And that will be my next project.

On Saturday night, I climbed into bed and turned the light out. As soon as the room plunged into darkness, the tears spilled down my face. This shocked me, because I truly felt alright leading up to that moment, but obviously the wound is not healed and I needed to shed some tears before I could fall asleep and that’s what I did. A few minutes past, I wiped the tears away and whispered goodnight to Barry and then I closed my eyes and drifted off into the world of dreams.

Even with the tears, I feel the DVD will become an important part of my future. In truth, I would give everything I own if it meant I could have Barry back, but that isn’t the way things work. I have to be content with the memories, living (video images) and still (photos). With the approaching of Barry’s birthday and the placement of his ashes on that day, I feel it’s important to focus on Barry’s life…not his death. This is the way forward for me. Life.

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4 thoughts on “Living Memories

  1. The joy you felt watching a DVD of previous happy times comes across in your post! Discoveries such as this are so precious when we realise there will be no future photo opportunities with a son who is no longer with us. I asked other family members to go through their photos and give me any that show my son at various stages of his life…now I am putting together a summary. It is truly a bitter/sweet task…I still wish I didn’t feel the need to do it! Another consequence of my son’s choosing to leave his life and us.

  2. I’m so sorry for the delay in replying, Maree. Photos and videos are all that we have left. Unfortunately, I only have a few minutes of him in the last few years of his life. Although I know it would be hard to watch, I wish I had more.

    I am currently looking for more photos too. They suddenly feel so important. You did the right thing asking family and friends to go through theirs and share them with you. As you say, there will be no further photos, so what else can we do.

  3. hi karen me again…..just letting u know that i have a video of barry from the yr twelve formal if u would like it i can send it to u

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