Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The picture in the basement


I'll start by apologizing for hitting on such a heavy theme (death) two days in a row, but this one is actually kind of nice.

The beautiful lady pictured at the top of this post is my mom, who passed away last summer at the age of 88 and left behind the sort of legacy we all hope to leave behind someday.

Right after she died, I was tasked with writing her obituary, which was an honor. She had a lot of siblings and other relations, so it was good to have my brother and sister there to copy edit for me and make sure I had all of the connections right.

One of the things the funeral home requested (and which you always see in newspaper obits) is a photo. I hadn't given this much thought until the moment I actually had to come up with one.

How in one photo do you sum up a person's life? In some ways it's impossible, but I thought this image worked about as well as any.

It's actually a cropped photo of Mom holding my great-niece Ella right after Ella was born. Whoever took the picture was standing while Mom was sitting. She's looking up into the camera smiling, and she clearly loves the chance to hold another great-grandchild.

This image became The Official Picture of Mom's Passing, because it started showing up the funeral home announcement, in the newspaper, on Facebook, etc.

A framed copy of it sits on the bookshelf in our basement. Because I pass through there several times a day for various reasons, I see the photo all the time. And almost every time, I say, "Hi Mom." I really do.

I do it of course because I wish she was here in person for me to say hi. But I also do it because it makes me happy. For a very brief second, it's like she's there sitting in her chair at home watching TV as I come through the front door for a visit.

It's a small thing, but like I said, it makes me happy. At some point after you lose a parent, those small moments start meaning the most.

Hi Mom!