Every once in a while when I was at my grandparent’s place, my grandma would take out the photo albums, my grandpa would bring down some tea, and they would tell me stories. I saw pictures of their siblings and parents, and I tried to imagine what their childhood was like. They told me stories about when they first bought their house and showed me the picture of my grandma that made my grandpa fall in love with her. There were some happy, happy times.
Now that my grandpa is gone, my grandma and I look through the pictures alone. I’m like a sponge. I try to take in every single detail – every face, every expression, every name – I don’t want to ever forget who my Opi was. And I don’t want to forget the details because it is the little details about a person that makes them who they are.
Omi said Opi had a good life and I believe her. He was always smiling; always surrounded by friends. There was Eddy who never married and who ended up being the butt of all the jokes. There was Teo and Peter and countless others who loved my Opi and I love them because of that.
It was a bit overwhelming to see photos of him when he was a boy. To see his parents and his 12 siblings. It makes me incredibly sad how a family can get separated like that and lose connection – because of of war sometimes, or death…but perhaps I get the most sad when it’s because of life.
I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about old photographs that touches my heart. There is a magic about them that modern cameras simply can’t capture. Maybe it’s the people in the photographs themselves. Maybe it’s because times were “simpler” back then. I don’t really know.
As we continued to look through photos, Omi told me about the good times and parties they had. She told me not to grow old because it’s horrible to watch your friends die. Hearing her stories makes me appreciate the moments I have right now even more. It makes me want to live in the moment more and notice things around me and appreciate them. I know that there are good times ahead and that I have so many good things to look forward to…but when those times eventually come, I know I’ll be missing these times – the times that are happening right now.
I like simple things. I like looking through photo albums with my grandma or eating dinner with her, seeing her smile, hearing her laugh. I think it’s simple moments like that that make life beautiful. It’s the moments where you’re bounded and united by the pure and simple strings of love and nothing more. I’ll always remember these moments. I want to remember everything and everyone in those photo albums and I want my kids to remember them because remembering is the only way the people in the photos stay alive.