Four years ago, I got a phone call in the afternoon, after a completely normal, even pleasant day.
I was told that my six year old nephew, with whom I had a deep bond, had been killed in a car accident.
I didn’t stop crying for days. It still seems surreal. It still seems too incredible that I will never again hear his voice or talk to him.
I know that a part of the reason I still feel his loss and his absence so keenly, is because I allowed the anger and bitterness I feel towards his guardians to prevent me from at least talking to him on a regular basis. I regret it. I wish I could change it. I wish I could honour his memory and his nature with love and forgiveness.
In the preparation for his memorial service, we were looking for pictures of him through the many we had. Pictures of him with his father, him with his cousins, him with us, and I found lots of wonderful pictures of him with my knucklehead, and even a few with him and I together. I wished there were more. Those pictures are my treasures.
I realised with a start, during that exercise, that I had maybe a handful of pictures of my knucklehead and I together, and he was already a grown up! I had mostly been behind the camera while he was growing up, taking the pictures, but as is typical of many women – I had avoided the camera because I was too fat, had no make up on, was taking the picture… Whatever. And now it was too late to take those pictures.
I wish I had taken those pictures, or had someone take pictures of me with my boy. Pictures with bot of our faces in them.
Now I take a selfie with my son, or I hand my phone-slash-camera to someone else, every time I see him. I love these pictures.
I also take selfies with my family when I see them – my mom and dad, my sisters, my gran… To me the pictures are very special. I know not everyone sees photos as all that important, preferring to make memories rather than take pictures, but my pictures are a part of my memories and I look at them often.
I never part company with my son, or my husband, or my parents and siblings, without telling them I love them. I never want to feel the heartache I feel now because I didn’t talk to them enough.
Don’t wait to take pictures of you and your children together. Selfies are fun. Play silly buggers in a photobooth. Celebrate special occasions. Don’t wait till you’ve done your hair or you’re better dressed.
You can’t go back.